A 37-year-old armed robber described as a “dangerous career criminal” was sentenced today to an indeterminate prison term.

Paul Wakenshaw, formerly of Fourth Avenue, Watford, was jailed at St Albans Crown Court after pleading guilty in August to two armed robberies.

On October 16, 2008, he robbed a Loomis security van delivering cash to the Martins newsagents, in Garston Park Parade, threatening two men with a silver handgun before making off with £8,400 in cash.

Wakenshaw, however, was seen soon afterwards removing the motorcycle helmet he had used to cover his face and was later picked out in a police identity parade.

Less than two months later he robbed the Sophia jewellers shop in Stanmore, this time wearing a black woolly hat and gloves. He again threatened staff with a handgun before making off with a £45,000 haul.

Two other armed robberies thought to have been carried out by the same man, at Kings Langley and Bushey Mill Lane post offices, will lie on police file.

Wakenshaw, who is also currently serving a 12-month sentence an earlier offence of GBH, was ordered to serve a minimum of six years before he will be considered for parole.

Judge Stephen Gullick said: “Your history demonstrates a tendency to use significant violence as well as a propensity to use firearms against those who stand in your way.

“I am satisfied that you pose a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm and that the public requires protection from you and your activities.

“You should not be released until such time that the risk is no longer present.”

He awarded the significant witness in the Garston newsagent robbery £250 and commended him for his actions.

Detective Sergeant Ian Siggery said: “In my 20 years’ police service Mr Wakenshaw is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous career criminals I have encountered.

“The significance of today’s sentence cannot be underestimated. Before Wakenshaw can be released from prison, the authorities must be sure that he no longer poses a risk to the public.

“If and when he is released, Hertfordshire Constabulary and our partnership agencies will be empowered to manage him closely.

“This is an outstanding result for policing in the western area. My thanks go out to the numerous members of the public that came forward as witnesses and assisted in securing the conviction of this dangerous man. Many of my officers particularly, Detective Constable Bob Akehurst, worked tirelessly to ensure that this was achieved.”