A DRUG addict shoplifter who robbed two stores by threatening staff with dirty needles has been jailed for four years and nine months.

And Damien Lynch also stole £1,000 in cash along with a quantity of booze from a convenience store in a spree of six other raids.

The 36-year-old first told a woman working at the Beechcroft Road Co-op that he had a hypodermic when she challenged him as he stole on Tuesday, March 26.

And the following day he produced the needle and used it as a weapon as he was challenged after jumping the counter at the Cricklade Road branch of the store.

James Newton-Price, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the ‘brazen’ thief committed eight offences within a few weeks in March.

He said “He had established a pattern which, by intimidation, he was going to the same type of shop time and time again.”

On Tuesday, March 5 he went to Iceland and as he fled with £30 worth of alcohol he made reference to a needle to a member of staff who challenged him.

A few days later he threatened a Co-op worker who confronted him, saying ‘I’ll f*** you up’ as he left the shop.

The following week he went to the One Stop in Toothill and made off with £1,000 in cash and more alcohol, again making threats as he left with the booty.

Three days later he snarled ‘Don’t even try it, I‘m having what I want,’ when he was spotted taking vodka from another Co-op.

And a week later he took four bottles of spirits from Waitrose in Marlborough before the first of the robberies that evening.

Mr Newton-Price said he went to the Beechcroft Road branch, from which he is banned, at about 7pm.

As he loaded his customary bag-for-life with booze a female shopworker told him to stop and grabbed him, but he threatened ‘Don’t try it love, I’ve got a needle’.

Just over 24 hours later he vaulted the counter in the Cricklade Road branch and was plundering the shelves when a man challenged him, telling him to put things back.

Lynch snarled ‘I’ve got a needle and I am having it’, before adding ‘I’ll stick you with it,’ before leaving.

Realising he was targeting Co-ops the police waited outside another branch and caught him when he turned up there.

Lynch, of Castle Close, West Swindon, admitted two robberies and six counts of theft.

Mary Cowe, defending, said he had a long-standing drug habit, but had been out of trouble for a while.

Earlier this year she said his partner was seriously ill and rather than being beside her in hospital he reverted to class A drug use instead.

Jailing him Judge Jason Taylor QC said “You went to another store, jumped over the counter, and helped yourself. You took out a needle and said ‘I’ll stick you with it’.

“Those were mean words designed to scare as there is the unspoken fear of needles of intravenous drug users.”