A PROLIFIC offender who attempted to rob a woman as she moved into a flat in his building has been jailed.

Alex Ibbetson threatened the woman with a knife as she moved into the flat in Stockton last month and pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted robbery and having a bladed weapon when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court today.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the victim was being helped by a friend when the pair were approached by the 26-year-old at about 3pm.

Ibbetson demanded he give him her drugs but when she told him she did not have any he threatened her with the knife inside her flat.

Miss Atkinson said the victim said she had suffered domestic violence in the past and the incident brought up bad memories and left her "terrified" and "shook up".

Ibbetson left the scene but was later arrested although the knife was not recovered. Miss Atkinson said he denied the offence in his police interview but later pleaded guilty.

She said Ibbetson, who appeared by prison videolink, had issues with drugs and had 25 convictions for 59 offences on his record.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said his client, of Briar Road, Thornaby, was high on drugs at the time and nothing was taken. He said the attack was unplanned and Ibbetson's mother had tried to get him help for mental health issues without success.

Mr Soppitt said Ibbetson is receiving counselling for his drug habit in prison and had also started a course in bricklaying and woodwork while he was also "sorry" for the incident.

Judge Peter Armstrong sentenced Ibbetson to 45 months in prison for the attempted burglary as well as six months for having the knife, which will run concurrently. He also granted a restraining order for the victim for five years.