AN armed robber who targeted a bookmakers and an off licence in St Helens has been jailed for five and a half years.

Christopher Heffey, 35, of Providence Court, Charles Street, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to two earlier robberies.

The first on August 10, saw two men entered D&T Wines on Standish Street, St Helens.

One of the men was armed with a knife.

The shop assistant was threatened and the men fled the scene with cash and a bottle of whisky.

Three days later, on August 13, two men with their faces covered and armed with a kitchen knife and a hammer entered Bet Fred, on Bickerstaffe Street in St Helens and demanded cash before fleeing the scene on foot.

Commenting on the sentencing, Detective Inspector Tony O’Brien said: “I am pleased that Heffey was detained and charged so promptly following the two robberies and has now been sent to jail for the offences.

“Business robberies are not victimless crimes, they often involve people who are just trying to do their job becoming victims of traumatic and sometimes violent incidents and as such we treat them extremely seriously.

“We regularly work with partners to provide advice on practices and measures business owners can introduce to make their businesses more secure and engage in high visibility patrols in areas with high footfall to reassure businesses and shoppers alike.

“Enquiries remain ongoing in relation to the second male and I would ask anyone who has any information which could assist the investigation to contact us or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”