A robber picked up a builder’s Stanley knife and threatened to ‘slice up’ his four Doberman dogs.

Joseph Jones, 35, and another man who has not been identified, went with the father-and-son victims into an outhouse, demanded they hand over cash, then in a parting shot warned the men they’d come back, kick in the door, ‘slice up’ the dogs and shoot them.

Judge Michael Gledhill QC questioned why Jones had broken into the builders’ garden in Witney on November 24, 2019, and why the victims apparently had £300 cash stored in the shed.

Jailing him for four years, the judge told Jones: “You and another man went to this house occupied by a father and son in the building trade and you were clearly there to burgle the outbuilding looking for tools.

“I suspect, but I am not going to sentence you on this basis, you knew or hoped there would be money in that outbuilding but I’m not given sufficient information about that.

“You didn’t go armed but you were met in the garden by dogs – I think there were four Dobermen in all - who were obviously attracted to you and did what they were there for.

“Things [went] terribly wrong from that point.”

The court heard Jones had picked up a Stanley blade and used it to threaten his victims while all four were in the shed, warning the two men they would be ‘sliced up’ if they didn’t cough up more money. The threat was not carried out.

As the robbers backed out of the shed they picked up a Dewalt tool box.

The younger of the two victims stumbled across a picture of Jones when he was looking at Facebook and later picked him out as the robber during a police ID parade.

Jones told police he’d been on a curfew tag at the time and challenged them to check with the tagging company. When they did, they found he’d been out of his property at the time the robbery was committed. His and the victim’s DNA was found on a Stanley knife seized from the defendant’s home.

Mitigating, Peter du Feu suggested there was more to the case but it would ‘not serve his client’s purposes’ to challenge the prosecution’s facts. Jones was currently serving a four year sentence for burglary and arson and had been due for early release at the end of 2021. “The rug has been pulled from under him,” the barrister said.

The defendant had struggled during his latest period of incarceration under pandemic conditions, with just one visit from family in the past 18 months. He had completed a number of courses while inside.

Despite his poor criminal record, he had gone seven years during the last decade without offending.

Appearing before the crown court via video link from HMP Dartmoor, Jones, formerly of Bampton, pleaded guilty to robbery.

Judge Gledhill said: “I hope you continue to work towards your release because you’ve already proved that if you’ve got the will to keep out of trouble you can keep out of trouble.”

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