A Devizes man who robbed a jewellers at knifepoint during a two-month crime spree has been jailed for eight years.

Christopher Pike, 30, formerly of White Horse Way, 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.

Pike then got away on a stolen red motorcycle he had used while stealing from dozens of homes and businesses.

He was caught riding the machine, which was fitted with false number plates, by police 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 that Pike carried out the armed raid in Malmesbury High Street on the morning of October 5. She said the burly robber went into County Jewellers shortly before 10am, wearing full motorcycle leathers and helmet.

Worker Alicia Bird turned to see 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 ordered her to open a safe and was aggressive and swore as she tried to get money and gems from inside.

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, Ms Squire said Mrs Bird was left traumatised, suffering 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 pickpocketed 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 charges of 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 being held on remand.

Mr Ross said: “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.

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

Pike was also banned from driving for two years.