A SHOP robber joked with a cabbie that he was his “getaway driver” as he went on a spree round convenience stores in one afternoon.

Daniel Clark stole cigarettes, cans of lager and food from McColl’s, in Auton Stile, Bearpark, and the Co-op in Broom Lane, Ushaw Moor, travelling between shops by waiting taxi.

He then headed to the Premier Express store, in Cheveley Park, Belmont, where he approached the counter pretending to have a handgun.

Durham Crown Court heard that with his hand in the pocket, pointing towards the assistant, he ordered him to open the till, telling him he, “wasn’t messing around.”

The terrified assistant, who had previously been robbed three times, placed a large amount of money on the counter, which Clark grabbed, saying: “It is what it is.” as he turned to leave.

Jonathan Walker, prosecuting, said Clark was seen by someone he knew and made a “shushing” gesture to him.

But, as the onlooker recognised him, he was able to identify him to police.

Mr Walker said Clark was arrested three days later at his home in Bracknell, Berkshire, but the stolen money was not recovered.

Clark, 27, said nothing in interview, but admitted robbery and two counts of theft at a recent hearing.

His barrister, Lewis Kerr, told the sentencing hearing that Clark had an accomplice with him during the “spree”, acting as almost a look-out.

Asked what happened to him, Mr Kerr said all he knew was that he is now a serving prisoner, in Scotland.

Mr Kerr added that Clark was remorseful and wanted to apologise to the assistant.

Jailing him for 40 months, Judge Jonathan Carroll said it was a, “clearly planned” with a, “callous disregard” for those affected.