A SYRINGE-wielding drug-addict robbed a convenience store of cigarettes and whisky after a break-up sent him spiralling back into crime, a court has heard.

Matthew Amos used a capped syringe to threaten a checkout assistant at Tesco Express store in Millbrook.

The 32-year-old also admitted stealing two purses from volunteers at a church-run cafe.

Defending, Andrew Houston said it was the “breakdown of his relationship” that caused his client to turn to crime.

Mr Houston said Amos had kept a clean criminal record since serving time for robbery in 2012.

He said that Amos had met a woman following his release in 2013 and had started a family in Norfolk.

However, the relationship broke down in August last year.

Mr Houston said: “Something happened which led to the relationship breaking down.

“He moved back with his parents to live in Totton and he fell back into drug use and offending.”

The most serious of Amos’ offences took place on October 24 last year, when he committed a robbery at Tesco Express on Wimpson Lane.

Prosecutor Dawn Hyland said that Amos entered the store in Millbrook and repeatedly “distracted staff” over a 10-minute period.

He later approached a checkout and asked for cigarettes and whisky, which he tucked into his jacket as the checkout assistant turned away.

When the shop worker turned back around, Amos pulled out a syringe before quickly leaving the store.

Ms Hyland told how the victim had been left “anxious”.

She said: “Afterwards he felt very scared that it could have been a lot worse and he could have been seriously injured.”

Ms Hyland told the court how Amos had also stolen cigarettes worth more than £90 from Co-Op, Totton, two days later.

Amos also admitted stealing two purses from two woman working at the Church of the Cross Evangelical in Hammond’s Green, Totton.

The court heard how the pair were attempting to close the church’s cafe when Amos sneaked in and took the purses from their handbags.

In jailing him for 18 months, Judge Gary Burrell described Amos’ crimes as “ more than unpleasant”.

He said: “This robbery offence was of a serious nature.

“The thefts of the purses were more than unpleasant and mean, and had significant consequences for the victims, as well as inconvenience.”

Amos, of Shelley Road, Totton, interrupted Judge Burrell to express his remorse and his “disappointment” in himself.

Judge Burrell replied: “When you get out, you would do well to remember those words.”