A WOULD-BE robber who told staff at a sandwich shop he had a knife in his pocket has been jailed for three years.

John Laslett, aged 36 and of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Thursday (Aug10) after admitting a charge of attempted robbery.

The offence happened on Friday, March 31 when Laslett entered the Subway store in Southbourne Grove around 8.30pm.

A staff member was working there alone and Laslett approached the counter and held up a note, which read: “I have a knife open the till and put all the cash in the bag and I promise you won’t get hurt.”

Laslett kept his right hand in his pocket and the staff member never saw a knife.

The victim started to operate the till but instead of opening it for the offender, he pressed the ‘no sale’ button which brings up an error message and has an audible alarm.

He told Laslett he could not open the till without a code. Laslett said he did not believe him and walked around to the other side of the counter.

The staff member continued to press the ‘no sale’ button until three other members of the public entered the store. Laslett hid behind a side door and told the staff member to serve the customers.

However, the worker turned to Laslett and told him to leave the store, which he then did.

The staff member called his manager and kept the note that had been handed to him by Laslett.

A public appeal was issued using stills from the CCTV and an officer recognised the offender as Laslett.

He was arrested nearly a month later and was positively identified by the Subway employee.

Detective Constable Garry Weston, of Bournemouth CID, said: “The victim in this case was in a vulnerable position, working alone in the store, and showed great courage.

“I hope the sentence imposed by the court demonstrates that offences such as this will be dealt with seriously.”