A Devizes man who robbed a Malmesbury jeweller’s shop at knifepoint during a two month crime spree has been jailed for eight years.

Christopher Pike held the knife to the face of the woman shop worker before slashing a man from a neighbouring store when he answered her cries for help.

The 30-year-old , formerly of White Horse Way, Devizes, then got away on a stolen red motorcycle which he used to travel round burgling and stealing from dozens of homes and businesses.

But he was caught riding the machine, which was fitted with false plates, by eagle-eyed officers near Bath.

After being quizzed by officers he admitted committing a total of 50 offences between August 31 and his arrest on October 25.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Thursday how he carried out the armed raid in Malmesbury High Street on the morning of Friday October 5.

She said the burly robber went into County Jewellers shortly before 10am wearing full motorcycle leathers and helmet.

Worker Alicia Bird had her back to him and turned to see a him brandishing a knife with a seven inch blade, demanding 'Give me the money: you must have the money'.

After putting the weapon to her face he told her to 'open the safe' and was aggressive and swearing as she tried to get money and gems from it.

While Mrs Bird was leaning over she felt him press the knife against her back and screamed out in terror.

Andy Carnegie, who was working in a neighbouring lighting shop, heard her and rushed to her aid.

As he confronted the raider he fell into a shop display and Pike slashed at him with the blade, cutting his hand.

As a result of the raid she said Mrs Bird was left traumatised with nightmares about the attack.

In the days after the robbery Pike burgled houses in the Calne area having raided others in the weeks before.

He also pick-pocketed a man in Devizes in September, making off over roofs by the Market Place when he was spotted.

Pike pleaded guilty to robbery, four burglaries, theft, taking a motor vehicle common assault, criminal damage, two counts of leaving without making a payment and four driving while disqualified and without insurance.

He also asked for 27 burglaries, all but two of homes, and three thefts from cars to be taken into consideration.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client, who has a history of crime dating back to his early teens, was in the grip of a drug addiction at the time he committed the offences.

He realised he was facing a lengthy jail term and had already started to tackle his problems while inside on remand.

"All I can do on Mr Pike's behalf is pass on to the court, and most specifically to Mrs Bird, his profound apologies and the remorse he feels for what he did because it is utterly out of character for him," he said.

“In the grip of a dreadful addiction he took this course of action and he accepts that he will have to pay for it.”

Jailing him Judge Euan Ambrose said: "You are before me for sentence for an enormously large amount of offences committed over a two month period of utter lawlessness."

As well as jailing him for eight years he also banned him from the road for two.