A 25-year-old man who was formerly from Colchester has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for a series of attempted robberies in the town in late 2014.
Ashley Leech, of no fixed abode, was arrested by detectives on Saturday December 6. He was questioned about an attempted robbery at William Hill in Harwich Road, on Saturday November 22 and an attempt to rob a convenience store in Winnock Road in the town on Thursday November 27.
In both of these offences he had pointed what looked like a gun at staff and fired the weapon in the stores, although no damage was caused.
Leech was also identified as a suspect in the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Acacia Avenue on Monday December 1, where an air weapon was fired at the car.
He was charged with all three offences but appeared in court for the different crimes at different times.
He was found guilty of the taxi driver offence in July 2015 and admitted the other offences at Chelmsford Crown Court last month.
Speaking after he was jailed, investigating officer, DC Aimee Burton, said: “I am pleased that Leech has been taken off the streets of Colchester for a significant period of time. In late November and early December 2014 he carried out a series of attempted robberies using imitation firearms which left a number of people in fear of their lives. He will now have a lengthy period of time in prison to reflect upon his abhorrent behaviour.”