A ROBBER who threatened a couple with a knife in the first few hours of the year has been jailed for five years.

Peter Learmonth and Collette Bisseker approached the victims as they were driving out of the Aldi car park in Magdalen Street, Colchester, in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

The pair asked the man and woman if they were there to buy drugs.

When they said no, Learmonth demanded cash and reached through the driver’s window to remove the keys from the ignition.

Learmonth, 30, held a knife to the 33-year-old man’s throat and Bisseker also started demanding money.

She got into the car and starting punching the 27-year-old woman in the passenger seat, who tried to call 999 on her mobile phone.

Bisseker took the phone from her and the victim managed to get out and run to passers-by for help.

Learmonth and Bisseker left the scene but were arrested five days later in Bures Road, Little Cornard.

Learmonth, of Campion Road, Nayland, and Bisseker, 40, formerly of Bures Road, Little Cornard, were charged with robbery and assault with intent to commit robbery.

They denied the charges but were found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court last week.

Learmonth was jailed for five years and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge. A five year restraining order was also granted.

Bisseker was given a two-year jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

She was also ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge and undergo drug rehabilitation.

A police spokesman urged people to report anyone they knew with weapons as soon as possible.

He said: "We are committed to tackling violent crime in Essex and are targeting offenders every day, taking weapons off the street and securing evidence to put people before the courts.

"But we also need your help.

"If you know someone is carrying a knife or other weapon, please tell us.

"You could help save someone’s life.

"Call us on 101 or alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org

"Always call 999 in an emergency."