A MAN with an "appalling" criminal record robbed a Southampton convenience store after waving a screwdriver at staff, a court was told.

Dwain Ward has been jailed for more than two years for offences including a robbery he and an accomplice committed at a Co-op garage in Millbrook Road West in April.

John Eden created a diversion by dropping a wine bottle in the shop and then distracting staff, enabling Ward to escape with stolen coffee.

Southampton Crown Court heard the two defendants had arrived at the garage separately to disguise the fact they were together.

Daily Echo:

Tom Wilkins, prosecuting, said Ward was subsequently challenged by staff and responded by saying: "What are you going to do, then?" He then started waving an object that employees later identified as a screwdriver.

Ward never threatened to stab the staff but the object he had in his hand caused "added menace", said Mr Wilkins.

The following night Ward and another man burgled two garden sheds at Green Park Road, Southampton.

Ward, 37, of no fixed address, admitted robbery, two counts of burglary and possessing a prohibited weapon - a pepper spray.

The court heard that Ward had previous convictions for offences including shoplifting, burglary and dangerous driving. Eden, 32, of Victoria Road, Southampton, who also admitted robbery, also had convictions for shoplifting and burglary.

Jamie Gammon, mitigating for Ward, said the defendant had a history of drug abuse but was determined to seek help when he was released from prison.

He added: "The Dwain Ward I know is pleasant, intelligent, and easy to deal with. But when the chips are down he behaves in a way which is not attractive."

Sentencing the two men Recorder Barry McElduff said both defendants had "appalling" records.

Describing the robbery he told Ward: "You had what looks like a screwdriver and it's difficult to think of what else it could be. You were waving it towards the staff, who feared violence because of how agitated you were."

Ward was jailed for a total of 25 months, including 19 months for the robbery. Eden was handed a two-year community order.