A ROBBER who targeted a vulnerable disabled woman has been jailed for two and a half years.

Carl Mann snatched £60 from his victim's hand as she used a cashpoint at a BP service station in Stockton.

As the 37-year-old fled the scene he dropped a kitchen knife, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The victim, who walks with a crutch, had withdrawn cash for herself before using her mother's bank card to withdraw the money which Mann grabbed.

Ian West, prosecution, said the victim was injured but has been left badly shaken by the events.

In a victim impact statement, she said: "I think I was targeted by him because I'm disabled and walking with a crutch, if I didn't have the crutch I don't think he would have done anything to me.

"My health issues have increased massively since this incident, they get worse with stress and this incident has caused me a great deal of stress. Everytime I close my eyes, I relive it. I'm sick of having nightmares."

Mr West said the defendant was identified by staff who worked at the service station who 'knew him well' adding how Mann threatened to be sick on officers when they attempted to interview him.

Mann, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to one charge of robbery.

Alex Bousfield, mitigating, said his client didn't threaten the victim with the knife but conceded that its presence had caused the woman 'serious concern'.

He said 'minimal force' was used during the robbery but accepted it had caused the victim harm.

Judge Paul Watson QC said: "You have got a long record going back a long way, but in fairness to you, little in the way of violence and nothing in the way of robbery.

"At the BP garage, you saw a female on her own at night, at the cashpoint machine, whether you knew she was disabled or not is really nothing to the point.

"You knew as a lone female at that time of night, with nobody else around, she was a vulnerable target."