A robber from Chester who held up a petrol station at knifepoint because of his desperation for drugs has been jailed for four years and four months.

Stephen Hynes demanded cash from the terrified lone female cashier who thought she was going to be stabbed.

She had been left badly affected psychologically and financially by the Wirral robbery, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

Judge Alan Conrad QC was told Hynes, 39, of Eversley Park, also had previous convictions for robbery.

“People who work in petrol stations at night are particularly vulnerable and it is terrifying for anyone working in that way to be threatened by an intruder with a knife to steal,” he said.

The court heard Hynes, said to have mental health issues, went to the Gulf petrol station in Pasture Road, Moreton, about 8.15pm on January 8.

Assistant Amanda Evans saw him approaching and was suspicious about him.

“He came into the petrol station and just stood there looking at her,” said Michael Stephenson, prosecuting.

“She asked if she could help him but he continued to stare and then produced a knife from his pocket holding it in front of him and said, ‘Give me the money, I want your money now’.”

She told him he could have it and took the tray from the till which contained a single £10 note.

He took it and walked towards the door and she pressed the panic button, Mr Stephenson said.

He turned back, “really terrifying her”, and went to the counter, still holding the knife, accusing her of lying.

The assistant was shaken and offered him the coins from the till but he was not interested and walked away and the police were called.

Mr Stephenson said the victim had felt in control initially but the second time “she genuinely thought he was going to stab her.” 

The court heard she had to take time off work and now worked reduced hours affecting her income. Her moods and sleep had also been affected.

The court was told Hynes went to Blacon police station voluntarily the next day and admitted what he had done.

He said he had bought the knife earlier that day to carry out a robbery.

He had drunk three pints of beer and taken some cocaine and wanted money to buy cannabis and more cocaine.

Hynes, who had committed 76 previous offences and two robberies, pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing a knife in a public place.

Mark Lever, defending, said he had gone to the police the very next day and had been straight forward and co-operative with officers.

He has been a long-term drug user and had mental health problems.

He used drugs on a weekly basis when he got his benefit money and that day he had been waiting for his money and after drinking decided to commit the robbery.