A ROBBER threatened staff in a rural town post office with a needle is beginning a four-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Drug addict Stephen Jarvis committed the robbery at his local post office, in Haltwhistle, on Monday September 10, last year.

He entered the premises, on Main Street, at about 9.30am and used a syringe needle to threaten staff, demanding £800, but leaving having taken £32 cash from the till and between £40 and £60 donated for charity magazines.

Two staff members left the premises during the incident and helped a disabled customer to also make her way out, before alerting police.

The 21-year-old defendant, of Greenholme Road, Haltwhistle, denied robbery and possession of a bladed article, but, was convicted of both charges following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court, in October.

On his reappearance at the court for sentence, Judge Sarah Mallett jailed him for 54 months for robbery with ten-months concurrent for the bladed article charge.

She told him he had caused the victims “great distress”

Detective Constable Stuart Evans, one of the investigating officers, said: “This was a truly shocking robbery and the offender will now have plenty of time to consider the consequences of his actions.

“Incidents like this are fortunately rare but when they do occur they can have a huge impact on victims and the wider community.

“It is important the public knows we are fully committed to pursuing offenders and bringing them to justice.”