A MACHETE-WIELDING masked robber who left staff traumatised after a series of terrifying raids on fast food restaurants has been put behind bars.

Raymond Wright, formerly of Queens Drive, Newton-le-Willows, was sentenced to 14 years at Liverpool Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to three robberies, attempted robbery, aggravated burglary and possessing a blade.

A judge ruled that Wright - who was on licence from jail at the time of the raids, having robbed another fast food outlet at knife point - is a dangerous offender and imposed a four-year extended licence.

Wright, 47, carried out the "horrifying" raids within an eight-day period -“a time he describes himself as mad”, said his barrister Claire Brocklebank.

The court heard that Wright wore a balaclava during each robbery and was armed with a machete or knife and during each raid he was carrying a distinctive ‘bag for life’ with a lemons design.

Iain Criddle, prosecuting, said the first offence took place on September 1, 2018 when Wright, carrying a machete, came through a back door at the Burger King in Winwick Road, Warrington, as an assistant was cleaning up at 11pm.

The assistant bravely shouted at him to leave which he did but the worker has been left feeling paranoid and “haunted” by it and says it is "stuck in my head, probably for the rest of my life.”

Less than an hour later he struck at the KFC outlet on Todd Road, St Helens again wearing a balaclava and waving the machete and demanded money.

A terrified woman assistant handed more than £3,000 of takings and then had to give him the contents of the safe.

Warrington Guardian:

KFC in St Helens where Wright struck armed with a machete Pic: Robbob

Four days later Wright and an accomplice broke into a house in Haydock about 1am and the householder found them going through drawers in his kitchen.

He was pushed around by the men who demanded money. Wright was again carrying a knife, said Mr Criddle.

They left after Wright stole the victim’s iPad, some cash and his wallet.

The owner has been left suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and has panic attacks.

The following day just before 3am Wright and another man struck at the McDonald’s restaurant on Chalon Way, St Helens.

Wright demanded money and while his colleague stole cash from the tills he went with the frightened woman assistant to the back room and made her hand over money from the safe.

In her “harrowing” impact statement she told how she too now suffers from panic attacks, sleeping problems, depression and flashbacks and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Warrington Guardian:

Police at McDonald's on Chalon Way after the robbery

The final offence took place on September 8 when Wright raided McDonald's in Bolton Road, Pendlebury, Manchester shortly before 2am demanding cash and carrying a knife with a 12-inch blade. He forced the manager to put cash from the safe into his bag.

Wright was arrested later the same day after two members of the public bravely pursued him and were able to give police partial registration plate details of his getaway car, which belonged to his partner.

Wright, a father-of-two, whose 90 previous offences include a 12 year sentence for armed robbery in 2002, made admissions when interviewed.

Sentencing him Judge Denis Watson, QC, said, “These are horrifying offences for any victim to endure and the consequences for some of them may last for the rest of their lives.”

He described him as a “a prolific robber” who carries weapons and said that his victims were predominately female, two of whom “have suffered significant psychological harm.”

The judge told Wright, who appeared at Liverpool Crown Court via video link from prison where he has been recalled to complete his earlier six year sentence, that the offences “showed determination and persistence.”

Defending, Miss Brocklebank said Wright, who sat with his head in his hands on learning of his sentence, had told the victims no one would be hurt but he accepted that they did not know that would be the case.

She said at the time, Wright's relationship with his partner was breaking down and his brother had died.

His partner also had financial difficulties and he took the decision to pay off her debts by committing the offences. He also had drug issues and is “incredibly remorseful and devastated.”

She said he wants to write letters of apology and would also like to apologise to them in person if they would allow that.

Wright will have to serve two thirds of the 14 year term before he can apply for parole.