A PROLIFIC thief who threatened staff with a screwdriver during a spree of robberies has had his already-hefty sentence extended.

Simon Hawkins was already serving four years in Bullingdon Prison after attempting to steal steak and a bag of dog food in June.

The 29-year-old had been homeless and was said to be carrying out a series of minor thefts in order to feed himself and pay for his drug habit.

Police later discovered he had taken £110 worth of good from the Co-Operative on Overdown Road, Tilehurst on June 10, waving a six-inch screwdriver in the face of a terrified security guard.

Hawkins received an extra 18 months for the latest robbery offence after an unsuccessful attempt to have his old sentence overturned at The Court of Appeal.

He appeared via video link at Reading Crown Court on Friday after admitting to robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

Jane Davies, prosecuting, said: "On June 10 he went about his shopping and he attempted to exit the store without paying for the items.

"The security guard stopped the defendant and he became abusive. He barged into him before brandishing the red-handled screwdriver.

"He jabbed it towards the the security guard in an aggressive manner. The guard feared for his safety and he allowed the defendant to leave."

Hawkins committed the robbery as part of a spree of thefts last year, including an unsuccessful attempt to steal meat from another Co-Operative and dog food from Pets at Home on Oxford Road.

He was said to have been charged with theft on 88 occasions and Harper Marshall, mitigating, explained how his 'lifestyle offending' was fed by a drug addiction.

She also said he had shown genuine remorse for his offending and was working hard to overcome his addiction during his time in prison.

Judge Paul Dugdale handed down a four-year sentence in August for these offences and Anne Studd QC added a further 18 months on Friday, bring his total sentence to five years and six months.

Hawkins received 18 months for robbery to run consecutively with the existing jail time and four months for possession of the screwdriver to run concurrently.