A man who robbed a convenience store and attempted to hold up a bookmaker’s on the same day has been jailed for seven years.
Earl Patterson, 37, of Ashpole Avenue, Wootton, was found guilty at Luton Crown Court on Friday of one count of robbery, one of attempted robbery and two counts of possessing a firearm.
Just before 8pm on September 9 last year, Patterson held up the Coral betting shop in Williamson Road, Kempston.
The court heard how he entered the shop in black clothing with his face covered and threatened staff with what was believed to be a gun, demanding money from the till.
He left empty-handed but, just two hours later, he entered the One Stop shop in Cause End Road, Wootton, again brandishing the suspected weapon at shop workers before forcing one of them to hand over approximately £300 to £400 from the till.
Officers linked Patterson to the crimes by CCTV and the descriptions given by the witnesses, including a worker who recognised him when his face-covering slipped.
The suspected firearm used was not recovered but Patterson was still charged with the offences.
Following a trial he was found guilty, by unanimous verdicts, of all offences and sentenced to a total of seven years’ imprisonment.
Investigation officer Julia Hinson, said: “Robbery is terrifying for any victim, not least those who are simply trying to go about their work without fear of attack.
“I am pleased that the jury saw through Patterson’s transparent denial of the offences and that he has received a significant jail term for causing such distress and panic to innocent members of the public.
“Robbery will absolutely not be tolerated by Bedfordshire Police and we are committed to bring those responsible to justice.”