A prolific offender who jumped in the river in a bid to escape police was jailed for 15 months after pleading guilty to a series of robberies and thefts.

Tomas Lloyd was running from the scene of a robbery at Iceland in Melksham on August 20 when he dived into the Avon to get away from pursuing officers.

Lloyd, who has previous convictions for a series of similar offences, was arrested when he got to the river bank.

The 30-year-old of New Street, Andover, appeared at Salisbury Crown Court on November 3 where the sentence was handed down.

On August 8 last year he went to Aldi and then Co-Op in London Road, Salisbury, where he paid for low value items at the till.

On both occasions, when the cashier opened the till drawer, Lloyd snatched cash from the till and fled the scene.

One of the cashiers suffered an injury to her arm as she attempted to stop him.

Twelve days later Lloyd and an accomplice went to Lidl in Warminster and again stole cash from the till.

They then took a taxi to Trowbridge where they committed an identical offence in McColls, Castle Place.

Next they took a taxi to Melksham and went to Iceland.

Lloyd again went to the till to buy two small items and as he handed over the cash to pay, he shoved the cashier's chest with force causing an injury, before fleeing the shop with cash from the till.

The alarm was raised and police were called to the scene. They spotted the robber in the car park.

He ran from officers and in an attempt to flee, he dived into the River Avon. But his escape bid failed and he was arrested.

Det Con Anthony Swift said: “Lloyd is a prolific offender who has used the same criminal method to cause considerable loss to the retail sector as well as anxiety and upset to his victims.

“I would like to commend the actions of the shop workers who did all they could to prevent Lloyd, and unfortunately in the process sustained injuries.

“I am pleased that Lloyd has been sentenced for these crimes – he is also serving a custodial sentence for committing identical crimes in Hampshire.”