Police launched a major investigation following eight robberies at stores in the city in July and August last year (2021).
In one instance, a man – later identified as Leroy Allen – entered the MegaSave in Blackpool Road, Ribbleton, at around 10.55pm on July 18.
As the staff member opened the till to serve Allen, a second man armed with a hammer stormed into the store before demanding cash.
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The offender – later identified as Keith Smith – ripped the till out before the pair fled the scene with around £800 in cash.
Allen was later arrested and charged with robbery.
Between July and August, police said they were called to a further seven robbery offences which all involved Smith.
DC Steve Rotherham, of Preston CID, said: "Smith’s offending was violent and prolific.
“He went on a robbery spree, targeting shops across Preston. His offending left victims terrified and fearing who would be next.
“He used weapons including scissors, a hammer and knives, as well as targeting one shop twice in three days.”
Smith was finally caught after attempting a robbery at the Quick Shop in Ribbleton Avenue on August 3.
The 35-year-old was forced out of the store by staff as officers attended the scene.
Following a short pursuit, Smith was arrested on Blackpool Road and later charged with robbery offences.
Keith Smith, 35, of no fixed address and Leroy Allen, 35, of Sion Hill, Preston, pleaded guilty after appearing at Preston Crown Court on Monday (February 28).
Smith was jailed for ten years and six months, with Allen given a three year and six month sentence.
"Smith is clearly a dangerous offender and his sentence reflects the gravity of his actions,” DC Steve Rotherham added.
“Allen, while limited to the one robbery, was heavily involved and I have no doubt he could have committed further offences given the opportunity.
“Furthermore, I want to thank the teams who have worked across this investigation, including response policing, detectives and crime scene investigators.
This team effort supported the prosecution and have taken two dangerous offenders off the streets for some time."