Taxi passenger pulled on balaclava and threatened driver with breadknife in Hull's Coltman Street
A SERIAL robber who lured a taxi driver to a secluded area and robbed him at knifepoint has been jailed.
Joseph Shaw, 38, went into Belmont Taxis in Hessle Road, west Hull, and asked for a taxi to take him to nearby Coltman Street – despite the fact it would have been quicker to walk.
Shaw insisted he wanted a taxi and once in Coltman Street, he pulled a balaclava over his face and threatened driver Michael Cross with a bread knife.
He ordered the driver to hand over his takings and made off with £30 in cash.
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Mr Cross sounded his panic alarm and the police quickly picked up Shaw on CCTV and arrested him.
He has now been jailed for four years and eight months.
Prosecutor Jharna Jobes told Hull Crown Court: "He asked for a taxi to go round the corner and the lady (in the office) did think it was a bit odd because it is quicker to walk there. He insisted he'd rather have a taxi."
The court heard Shaw made small talk with the driver, asking him if he'd had a busy night, before asking him for change for a £50 note.
When the driver looked up, he saw Shaw was wearing a balaclava and had a knife with a 6in blade resting on his knee.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Cross said: "I have been driving taxis for 11 years and I have never had to deal with anything like this before.
"It has really shaken me but I will not let it affect my work. The person responsible should not be allowed to get away with it."
Shaw, of De La Pole Avenue, west Hull, pleaded guilty to robbery.
The offence happened at 11pm on October 2.
Judge David Tremberg, sentencing, told Shaw: "One of the aggravating features in your case is that you have a bad record for offences of violence and robbery.
"This is a serious example of robbery, firstly because there was an element of planning and premeditation about it – you went equipped with a balaclava and a bread knife.
"You targeted a person providing a service to the public in circumstances in which he was vulnerable and in the hours of darkness.
"You targeted him for that reason and you used a pretext to get him on his own.
"You clearly thought he would have ready cash. You were intoxicated at the time and you carried out this offending to get money for your next fix – you having lapsed back into Class A drug use.
"You are getting too old for this. At a time when most defendants are moving on from crime you are steeped in it.
"If you are ever before the court again, chances are the court will be giving close consideration to offences under the dangerous offending provisions from which you might never be released."
Shaw was jailed for five years in 2007 for a knifepoint robbery in a shop and had only recently been released from prison.
He was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1991 for an attempted robbery involving a firearm.