A violent yob has been jailed after he threatened to stab a pregnant hairdresser with a needle infected with AIDS.

Colin Young has been jailed for nine years after he burst into a hair salon in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, on the afternoon of 16 January wearing a mask.

The 35-year-old demanded £40 ($56) whilst holding a knife but hairdresser Ann Dodd refused and he left the shop empty-handed.

Dodd, who was 22 weeks pregnant, saw the defendant then pull a syringe that contained a reddish-brown liquid and told her: "I don't want to give you AIDS."

Warwick Crown Court was told that Young committed a number of other crimes in an hour-long crime spree on 16 January before he was arrested.

Young, of Bucksford Court, Bucks Hill, Nuneaton, pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery, three counts of attempted robbery and possessing an offensive weapon and a bladed article.

Judge Richard Griffith-Jones jailed Young for nine years, telling him: "You have not committed offences of this gravity before, and I recognise you are facing your first custodial sentence.

"The most grave of these offences is the attempt to rob Ann Dodd, who was obviously pregnant, and what you did was despicable."

He added, according to the Coventry Telegraph: "To approach her with a knife and a syringe when she was in her vulnerable state was, frankly, wicked. Her coolness and courage stands in contrast to that.

"Ann Dodd was incredibly brave, and she should be commended for that. She must have been particularly frightened because she had a baby inside her."

The court was told that Young walked into the Johnny Rocketts hair salon with his face masked and brandishing a knife.

Young told the brave hairdresser: "Give me the money. I can see you're pregnant, I don't want to hurt you" after a colleague told him to get out.

It was then that Young brandished the syringe and Dodd grabbed a motorcycle helmet and warded him away.

The defendant then left empty-handed after threatening a customer, who had no cash on her.

Defending Young, Colin Charvill, said his client had lost his job and accommodation because he used Class A drugs to cope with problems in his life.