A DRUNKEN knifeman who was bundled out of store by a shopkeeper after a bungled robbery attempt has been jailed.

Alcoholic Jeremy Crompton had been on a three day drinking spree before he tried to hold up Costcutter in Chester-le-Street with a tea towel covering his face.

He threatened staff with a butter knife, before producing a sharp ten inch kitchen knife from his sock, demanding they lock the door, turn off the alarm and empty the till.

But when the owner was contacted by one of his employees he confronted the 35-year-old, telling him: “You are getting nothing.”

On Friday, Durham Crown Court was told the owner tackled the man, pinning his arms by his side while his shop assistant struck him with a baseball bat.

The owner then pushed him from the store, on Carlingford Road, and he fled, only to be arrested by police later.

Staff told officers the incident had been ‘terrifying’.

Prosecuting, Rebecca Brown said: “The prosecution would say the witnesses are particularly stoic.

“The prosecution would say that there are still psychological problems a month later if they are not sleeping properly.”

The court was told Crompton was desperate for food and alcohol at the time.

Crompton, of Lambert Avenue, Chester-le-Street, previously pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article on March 18.

The court was told Crompton was desperate for food and alcohol at the time, and had been suffering from depression.

Mitigating, Neil Bennett said: “The defendant comes to this case fully accepting the extent of his alcohol problem. He expresses remorse and demonstrated an ability to understand the impact of his actions.”

The court heard Crompton has 11 previous convictions for 12 offences.

Recorder Tahir Khan said custody was inevitable an sentenced Crompton to 40 months imprisonment.

He said: “Anybody who goes into public with a knife or bladed article should understand that the courts take this kind of offending very seriously indeed and particularly because knife crime is very much in the public eye at the moment.”