A DRUG addict has been jailed for terrorising three cashiers and a shopper while armed with a blood-filled hypodermic syringe.

Daniel Watson was in the grip of withdrawal symptoms when he went on a rampage around Brixham and threatened to infect the victims with HIV by stabbing them with the needle.

He tied to break into a house in the town but was intercepted in the porchway by a resident and then went on to rob Superdrug, Tesco and Boots before attacking a customer in a betting shop.

He stole boxes of prescription medicines from Boots and cans of beer from the punter but was tracked down within minutes by police who flooded the area after his hour-long crime spree on the morning of April 17 this year.

Watson, aged 41, of Upton Manor Park, Brixham, admitted four robberies and an aggravated burglary and was jailed for four years and six months by Judge Stephen Climie at Exeter Crown Court.

He certified him to be a dangerous offender and imposed a three year extension to his licence.

He told him: 'I have a public duty to protect people from behaviour of this nature and it must inevitably result in a significant prison sentence.'

Miss Felicity Payne, prosecuting, prosecuting, said Watson had the needle in his pocket when he tried to broke into a house in Brixham before being confronted in the doorway and leaving empty handed.

He went into Superdrug at around 9 am and demanded cash from the till while holding the syringe. He then moved on to Tesco where he demanded £40 and threatening to stab the cashier.

The next robbery was at Boots where he grabbed boxes of medication, threatened staff with the syringe, and pushed one over as he fled. He attacked a customer at the entrance to the Ladbroke shop and held the needle to his neck while claiming it contained blood infected with HIV.

He rifled through the terrified man’s pockets and stole a bag containing beer cans before running off and being tracked down to Bolton Street where he was disarmed and arrested at around 10.am.

Mr Martin Salloway, defending, said Watson had serious drug problems at the time which he intends to address while in custody. He admitted what he had done, telling the police he wanted to go to jail and hopes to get the support he needs when he is released.