A THUG who robbed a man and tried to steal an elderly woman's handbag the next day has been jailed for seven years.

Lee James Ryan, 35, of Whitchurch Road, Waverton, pleaded guilty to robbery, attempted robbery and two counts of possessing a knife at Chester Crown Court today.

Judge Patrick Thompson sentenced him to immediate custody and commended the bravery of the witnesses in the case.

In a post on Twitter Chester's police team welcomed the sentence saying justice had been done.

Ryan first struck outside the One Stop Shop on Chester Road, Helsby, at around 5.45pm on Monday, November 6.

He used a knife to threaten the 56-year-old victim as he left the shop and stole his wallet, before fleeing towards Frodsham.

Just a day later, at around 4.30pm on November 7, Ryan tried to snatch a 71-year-old woman's handbag on Ince Lane, Wimbolds Trafford.

He was later found on Orchard Park Lane, Elton, where he was discovered to be in possession of a knife.

Ryan first appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on November 9 when the case was sent to the crown court due to its seriousness.

At the time of the first offence, Cheshire Police sought to reassure the community.

Detective Constable Kevin Green said: “Helsby is a small, tight-knit community, and understand that an incident of this nature may cause some concern.

“I would like to reassure residents that we treat all incidents of this type extremely seriously and we are doing all that we can to trace the person responsible.”

The force tweeted today: “Lee James RYAN has today pleaded guilty to robbery offences at Chester Crown Court and sentenced to 7 yrs. Judge commended the bravery of the witnesses in this case #Hereforvictims #HereforJustice #ChesterCID.”