A MAN attempted to rob his former employer at knife point but was caught out when his disguise slipped off.

Lewis Hamilton, 24, burst in to a back room of the Trading Post pub in Westcliff and threatened an assistant manager with a knife as she counted up the day’s takings.

The hapless crook wore a scarf around his head and his jacket was pulled up around his face but the disguise slipped.

A court heard he then tried to pass the incident off as a joke, telling his victim Holly McDonald that he was “only kidding”.

Hamilton, of Peers Square, Chelmsford, broke down in to tears as he was sentenced to two years in prison for aggravated burglary when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court.

Charlotte Davison, prosecuting, told the court that Hamilton was sacked from his job at Mariners Court on Leigh after he failed to pay for a food tab.

Unable to find a new job in the Southend pub trade he lied in his interview for a job at the Trading Rooms in London Road, Westcliff by saying he left Mariners Court voluntarily.

He was offered a new position there but when his new employer found out he had lied, he was sacked.

The court heard that Hamilton broke into the Trading Rooms 13 days later through a fire exit and lurked in the corridor outside the pub’s office while Ms Mc Donald cashed up.

Ms Davison said: “Ms McDonald heard someone outside the office and saw the door move, so called out: “are you going to come in then?”

“The door flew open and the defendant appeared in front of her. She did not recognise him at first, he had his hat pulled down to his eye brows and the top of his coat covering his face.

“He was holding a kitchen knife with a six inch blade.

“He asked her to hand over the money on the desk.”

The court heard that Hamilton moved and his jacket came down revealing his face at which point he said “don’t worry, I am only joking”.

Still wielding the knife Hamilton told the shocked Ms McDonald he had come to return his uniform but when she asked him for it he said it was at home.

He asked Ms McDonald if she wanted to split the takings with him but when she declined he left The assistant manager told her boss who called the police.

Ms Davison said: “Ms McDonald said the whole experience felt unreal and she was left in shock.”