A BUNGLING Cradley Heath raider who was masked and armed with a machete when he carried out two "frightening" robberies at newsagents shops in Brierley Hill and Quarry Bank has been locked up for four years.

Judge Abbas Mithani QC told 43-year-old Craig Jewkes they were plainly not professional crimes and it was the first time he had broken the law.

But he added: "The public must be protected from such behaviour and others must be deterred from committing similar offences."

Jewkes first struck at New Street News in Quarry Bank when, brandishing the machete, he demanded money from the till but he had to settle for £70 and packets of cigarettes after being told that was all the money on the premises.

Then, just two days later, he went into H.K. News and Booze in Brettell Lane, again wearing a balaclava and armed with the same weapon which had a two foot blade, said Sati Ruck prosecuting.

She told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Jewkes, who had £250 from the till and three packets of cigarettes, had been seen on CCTV four minutes earlier outside the shop.

He stood in front of the building before putting on his balaclava and also parked his car within camera range allowing police to recover his registration number.

Mrs Ruck said Jewkes was quickly arrested and when questioned by police officers he stressed he had carried out the two robberies on the "spur of the moment" and he had thrown the machete away.

Defence barrister Nicholas Berry said Jewkes, of New Pool Road, admitted two charges of robbery and was a man who was unlikely to offend again on his release from custody.

He told the court that for 20 years the building worker had struggled with his drug addiction, he had financial problems and there were also mental issues.

Mr Berry told the Judge that Jewkes who had no previous convictions was the kind of man who would spend his time in prison "constructively."