A supermarket thief was thwarted in his cash register raid because the Tesco assistant recognised him as a regular shopper at the store, a court has heard.

A judge heard that on the evening of January 21, the staff member who was working the nightshift at Tesco Express in Amersham had just finished putting the day's takings in a safe when he saw a man who he knew to be Jordan Pearce standing behind him, having leapt over the counter and entered the till area.

Although Pearce, 21, was wearing a scarf to try to hide his identity, he was well known in the Hill Avenue supermarket as a shopper.

Prosecuting, Matthew Walsh said: "Shortly after 10pm, the member of staff realised that there was a large amount of cash that had built up in the till and put it in a safe so there was only a float left.

"The defendant had come behind into the till area wearing a scarf to conceal his face. He had two bottles of spirits which he held up by the necks, with the bases facing the victim. The assistant allowed the defendant to approach the till and take £125 in cash. The defendant ran off with the bottles and the money."

The court heard that, although the staff member at the Tesco had been nervous about identifying Pearce - who was known to him - he had called police who had located the thief at a nearby park, carrying the vodka bottles.

Pearce had smashed the bottles together and held the broken glass while shouting: "Don't f***ing try it, I have been to jail mate.”

Although Pearce threatened the officers with the bottles, he was disarmed and arrested. He later admitted robbery and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, although two counts of assaulting an emergency worker were not proceeded with by the prosecution.

The court heard he had 30 convictions for 57 offences and had first come before the courts when he was 15.

Defending Pearce, Neil Jarvis said: "He has an unenviable history. He has had problems. He has anger management issues and problems particularly with alcohol but also with drugs as well.

"There has to come a time where one would hope he changes. He did manage to keep down a job for a period of time. His family has always been supportive, especially his mother."

Judge Thomas Rochford, sentencing Pearce at Aylesbury Crown Court, via Skype for Business, said: "You went to the Tesco Express where you were fairly well known. You went behind the counter, you had those bottles.

"You had a scarf around your face and no doubt your manner and tone were threatening because the person behind the till gave you what you were after.

"The victim, unsurprisingly given the time of night and that you had a scarf around you, was extremely frightened.

"Many people have tried to help you to overcome the various difficulties and challenges that you have, but I am afraid as you appreciate a time comes where really the courts cannot help you anymore. It has to be you who sorts yourself out. You have to get off this treadmill of crime which you are in danger of becoming very stuck on."

The judge jailed Pearce for 30 months.