A POST office robber has been jailed for a series of crimes that culminated in him terrorising two women counter staff before running off with banknotes floating in the air behind him.

Nick Adlington, prosecuting, said Carl Michael Blackmore, 27, wearing a homemade balaclava, brandished a knife with an eight-inch blade as he accosted staff behind both the shop and the post office counters of Starbeck Post Office and grabbed £15,000 from the till.

He got away despite one of the two women staff on duty throwing half a brick at him and fled through the built up area between Harrogate and Knaresborough, shedding bank notes as he went.

He was on bail at the time for two house burglaries in Harrogate, a night burglary of a restaurant in Ripon, and assaulting and resisting police.

The Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC, said the second woman post office staff member was so affected by the robbery she had had to leave her job and was too traumatised to return even as a customer.

"That is a measure of the effect of this category of crime has had upon the people of Harrogate," he said.

“Those who target vulnerable commercial premises such as post offices which provide a vital public service to the community and which are considered by criminals such as you as soft targets must expect and will receive from this court deterrent sentences.”

He jailed Blackmore for six years for the robbery on High Street, Harrogate on December 3, carrying a knife, two houses burglaries, the restaurant burglary, assaulting police and resisting a police officer.

"It is quite astonishing given this man's record he was admitted to bail so many times. I find it surprising," said the judge.

Mr Adlington told him Blackmore was first arrested on August 31 following the Ripon burglary, bailed, rearrested and again bailed following the house burglaries before the robbery.

Blackmore, of Avenue Grove, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to all offences and asked for an offence of stealing jewellery from his mother to be taken into consideration.

For him, Richard Reed said Blackmore had been addicted to crack cocaine and diazepam when he committed the offences.

“He had completely lost his moral compass in the later part of last year,” he said. Blackmore had told the police where he had sold various items which he had stolen and returned others.

Mr Adlington said passers-by caught many of the banknotes that Blackmore left behind him and returned them to the post office, including two girls on their way home from school with their mother, who alerted the police, and a boy on a bicycle.