TWO men who carried out a series of “sinister” knifepoint robberies on betting shops during a “month of madness” have been jailed for a total of 24 years.

Armed with an array of different weapons, including a cleaver and a replica Nazi dagger, a masked James Frampton would burst into betting shops and demand cash.

He would then threaten staff – including telling his victims he’d ‘slit their throats’ – before emptying money from safes and tills.

Frampton, 30, fled the scenes of his frightening raids in a getaway car driven by his partner in crime, Michael Purkiss. The car, a silver Volkswagen Polo, was registered to Purkiss’s mother.

Yesterday, the pair were jailed for 12 years each.

A court heard the pair targeted nine betting shops, including two in West Moors and Poole, during a 15-day spree in January.

The first took place at Coral in Bitterne on January 13, and the last was committed at Coral in Chandler’s Ford on January 27.

There were also raids in Romsey, Holsbury, Hedge End and Thatcham.

Prosecutor Edward Elton said on each occasion, Frampton burst into the shops wielding a weapon. One of the blades was described as a dagger inscribed with the insignia of the Nazi SS group.

On all but one occasion, the pair carried out the raids in the evening after the shops had a full day’s taking.

The defendants carried out reconnaissance of the betting shops on Google Earth and in person before the robberies.

In total, some £3,500 is believed to have been taken during the spree.

Frampton threatened 14 victims.

One staff member, Katherine Millett, was working at Ladbrokes in Holbury when Frampton burst in.

She told Southampton Crown Court: “I saw the knife on the counter and it made me heart stop.

“I still have flashbacks now.

“I realise our industry is prone to opportunists, but this was premeditated and sinister.”

Mitigating on behalf of Purkiss, Joanne Chester said the 55-year-old was in the grip of a class A drug addiction and “could think of nothing else”.

The defendant is “extremely remorseful,” she said.

Christopher Gaiger, representing Frampton, said his client also struggled with drug addiction. This had sparked a “month of madness,” Mr Gaiger said.

Judge Peter Henry told the pair: “All the people you robbed were just going about their day, earning an honest and modest living, and this is how they were treated, all because you thought they were easy pickings.

“As [Ms Millett] said, these were premeditated and sinister offences.”

Both Frampton, of Byron Road, Eastleigh, and Purkiss, of Arthur Road, Eastleigh, admitted conspiracy to commit robbery.

Detective Constable Ali Humby said the use of Purkiss’s mother’s car allowed police to use ANPR cameras to track the vehicle. Cell site analysis of Purkiss’s phone linked him to the robberies.

“This was a fast-paced investigation that spanned three counties over 15 days,” DC Humby. “The level of violence threatened and the weapons used by Frampton to scare staff in these premises must have been terrifying.”