A robber who targeted four people in just two hours while armed with a knife has been jailed.

Rudy Junior Bagalo, 22 of Stagden Cross, Basildon carried out a series of knifepoint robberies near Harlow town centre on March 23 this year.

The first victim, who Essex Police describe as young, was approached by Bagalo on a bike just after 4pm and told "give me everything you’ve got".

He was then shown a large knife before being punched in the face. Bagalo stole the victim's bag and fled the scene.

Just 20 minutes later, a 15-year-old waiting for a bus in Barley Croft had their bag stolen by Bagalo who was wearing a balaclava.

Within the next hour, another knifepoint robbery and attempted robbery was reported with the victims having Apple AirPods and bank cards stolen.

After becoming aware of the spate of robberies, officers in Harlow were quickly granted increased stop and search powers while also receiving information from the public.

The day after the robberies, Bagalo was arrested at an address in Basildon. Mobile phone data analysis showed Bagalo in the area of the robberies around the exact time they were committed.

Further enquiries showed that Bagalo had attempted to buy cigarettes with the bank card belonging to the first victim. This was unsuccessful due to the victim cancelling their card.

After being arrested, Bagalo was charged with three counts of robbery, common assault, attempt robbery, fraud by false representation and possession of a bladed article.

At Chelmsford Crown Court on July 7, he pleaded guilty to all of the charges. as well as breaching his suspended sentence for a previous offence.

He was jailed by the judge for five years.

Sergeant Paul Marks said: "Rudy Bagalo brought fear to several victim’s daily lives that night. He entered Harlow to commit crime and consequently left innocent members of the public feeling unsafe.

"I hope this sentence reassures those affected that bringing a blade into Essex will not be tolerated."