Teenager Joseph Kingsley, who robbed two small Corsham shops at knifepoint within 72 hours, has been jailed for six years and nine months.

The 19-year-old, formerly of Lower Allington, Chippenham, threatened staff at the stores, brandishing a huge kitchen knife as he demanded cash.

He struck shortly before closing time in the hope that the tills would be full of cash.

A week after the two raids he carried out a similar hold-up at a petrol station in Swindon.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court the first robbery took place at Oakleys, Pickwick Road, at about 9pm on March 19 last year.

Kingsley stormed into the small shop and threatened the two staff members working behind the counter, sisters aged 17 and 19, with the large knife before fleeing with about £500.

He had not made any attempt to cover his face and the victims were later able to pick him out in an identity parade.

Three days later he carried out a similar raid at Costcutters, in Kings Avenue, again minutes before the convenience store was due to close at 9pm.

The court saw CCTV footage from inside the store which showed a 19-year-old shop worker leaning on the counter when the raider strikes.

Kingsley demanded the cash from the till as he held the knife at head height with the blade pointing towards the worker, jabbing it back and forth.

Miss Hingston said: “The robber seemed to have learned that it might be wise to disguise himself, so he had a black beanie hat pulled down over his face with two holes for his eyes cut in it.”

She said footage from cameras outside the store showed the robber putting on the makeshift balaclava, while holding the knife, seconds before he burst in.

Kingsley made off with £300 and dumped the clothing under a hedge, but it was found and his DNA was located on it.

He was arrested on March 28 and questioned before being released on bail, but within 48 hours he committed another offence.

This third knifepoint robbery, at the Esso service station in Kingshill Road, Swindon, followed a similar pattern.

Kingsley pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery and three of possessing a bladed article. He pleaded not guilty to a further three counts of each charge and an attempted robbery. Those charges were left to lie on the file.

Marcus Davey, defending, said his client was full of remorse.

He said Kingsley had been thrown out of his home by his mother when he was 16 .

Mr Davey said: “He was homeless and destitute. He committed these offences because of a need for money for rent and food.”