A ROBBER who brandished a large hunting knife and threatened to stab one of his many victims in the face has been jailed for five years and three months.

Theodore Adekoya targeted university students in Bournemouth in a series of terrifying incidents in November and December last year.

The 24-year-old frightened his victims as he targeted them for their mobile phones.

He admitted two robberies, four attempted robberies and three offences of possessing a bladed article when he appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court.

Bournemouth Echo: Theodore Adekoya

But he told the court he needed money to pay university course fees and drugs debts.

Prosecuting, David Jenkins outlined a series of offences committed between November 24 and December 3 last year.

Four of the crimes took place within a period of less than two hours.

In full: Breakdown of all crimes committed in Dorset in 2020

At 9.35pm on November 24 he approached a student at Bournemouth’s Pier Approach and told him to reset his phone to factory settings and hand it over.

He gestured and said: “You don’t want me to get it out do you?” leaving his victim in fear that he was referring to a knife.

He fled without taking the phone.

Fifteen minutes later he targeted another student in Holdenhurst Road and robbed him of his iPhone11.

He told him: “I will use my weapon.”

At 11.15pm he attempted to rob a young man in St Paul’s Road before targeting another in nearby Holdenhurst Road telling him: “Don’t run, I’m going to stab you.”

Six days later he robbed a man of his phone in Howard Road, Bournemouth after telling him: “I need that. Don’t be stupid mate or I’ll stab you in the face.”

Angry motorist speeds towards horse riders and hurls abuse

On December 3 a terrified student ran away and flagged down a passing police car as Adekoya attempted to rob him in Charminster Road.

Adekoya, of Mallard Road, Bournemouth was arrested shortly afterwards.

He was linked to the other offences through CCTV enquiries and descriptions given by the victims.

Defending, Nick Robinson said Adekoya was trying to better himself by taking a university course and was unable to pay the fees.

He said he lives with his mother, who was at risk of losing the family home because she had lost her job.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Fuller QC said: “The offences were pre-meditated and they have caused those students considerable anxiety and distress.

“You are a young man who has potential but your involvement with Class A drugs led you to commit these offences.”

Detective Constable Christian Bryant, of Dorset Police’s Priority Crime Team, said: “Theodore Adekoya was responsible for a series of offences where he mainly targeted young men and either threatened his victims openly with a knife or made them believe he was in possession of one.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe when they go out in the evening in our communities and these must have been frightening experiences for the victims involved."