A FATHER high on drugs and armed with a 10-inch kitchen knife, who robbed shopkeepers of their takings before calling them "c**ts", has been jailed for three years.

George Horsted, 19, raided Worthing Watersports in a balaclava and brandished a kitchen knife shouting "give me your f***ing money".

Yesterday Judge Charles Kemp jailed the father-of-one, who had left his victims too scared to run their shop, at Lewes Crown Court.

The court heard Horsted threatened Michael Stone and Sue Reynolds with the kitchen knife during a robbery on the shop in Alinora Crescent, Worthing.

Prosecutor Rebecca Upton told the court: "On April 17 Michael Stone and his wife Sue were working at the store they own. At about 1.30pm an unknown male entered the shop and looked around and left, which was unusual as they don't get passing trade.

"Around 2.20pm the couple were alone in the store, when a man ran in through the front door with a black balaclava and knife in hand.

"He ran up to the counter and shouted in a threatening voice 'give us your f***ing money' and pointed his knife towards them.

"Mr Stone then opened a kitchen unit to remove the only money they had. He then grabbed the money and shouted at them 'c**ts'."

Horsted fled the store with £50 in cash, before making off on a bicycle.

The labourer then dropped the balaclava and knife on the street, which was eventually used to link him to to the scene using DNA evidence.

In a victim impact statement Mr Stone said he was frightened of anyone hanging around the shop. He said: "My partner and I have been running this shop for 12 years. I have never had any problems and felt very secure.But now we are far more conscious and suspicious of an anyone hanging outside the shop.

"On occasions where just my partner is working, I feel more conscious for her. There is no doubt it has knocked my confidence and i will continue trading with an ever more cautious approach to new customers or passers-by."

In mitigation defending, Benjamin Hargreaves, told the court: "His explanation is that he had been on a combination of drugs and alcohol and had been on a bender. He needed more money, and the shop was one of the first places he'd pass on his way home."

Horsted of The Quadrant, Goring, Worthing, pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing a knife in a public place and breaching a nine-month conditional discharge.

Judge Kemp said the robbery demonstrated the "appalling effects of drinks and drugs on otherwise perfectly decent men".

Horsted, dad to a four-month-old girl, was sentenced to three years in jail for the robbery to run concurrently with nine months for breaching suspended sentence.