A petrol station attendant was left “a physical wreck” after being confronted by a knife-wielding robber.

The woman was working alone at Greenodd Service Station in Cumbria when a masked man entered, sweeping a knife from side to side in front of her, Preston Crown Court heard.

David Clarke, prosecuting, said the woman was faced by Stephen Killip, who had a nylon stocking covering his face and a hunting-type knife with a seven-inch blade in his hand.

“She says the knife was pointing at her. She recalls him making a sweeping motion with his arm outstretched and he was shouting ‘cash’.

“She screamed for a mechanic in adjoining premises and continued screaming: ‘Get out, get out’,” said Mr Clarke. “At this, the defendant backed out and ran off.”

Killip, 20, of Bootle, near Millom, Cumbria, and his getaway driver Nicholas Walker, 21, of Higher Lath Farm, Ulverston, Cumbria, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted robbery and having a bladed article.

Judge Jacqueline Beech said the public needed protection from both men, and sentenced Killip, who also admitted a wounding charge relating to a street attack in Wales two days before the crime at Greenodd, to six years’ detention, with five years on licence.

Walker was given four years and two months’ jail, with four years on licence.

The court heard that Killip and Walker targeted the service station on February 26 last year because of its rural location. Walker provided the knife and drove his companion to and from the scene.

Clarke said after Killip fled, the attendant, who is in her 30s, pressed the panic button.

She told police: “I was scared. He was holding a knife so close to me. I didn’t know what he was going to do with it. It’s left me a physical wreck.”

Clarke said a number of people had seen a ‘distinctive’ black Citroen Saxo with bright orange wheels parked just up the road from the garage.

It was driven away by Walker and was spotted around 2.10pm heading in the direction of Barrow. Walker was in it when it was later stopped and the gloves and head covering worn by Killip were in the boot.

The attempted robbery occurred while the pair were both on licence for an aggravated burglary at a home in the Lake District.

Jacob Dyer, for Walker, told the court: “Everything about this incident was wholly inept. The car with its bright orange wheels was the defendant’s own. These are very stupid offenders, in my submission.”

Andrew Scott, for Killip, said: “It was utterly stupid.”

In a statement, the garage attendant said a life full of confidence, happiness and security had been taken away by the incident.