A MAN who held up a Huddersfield hotel has been jailed for life.
Mark Smith, 24, was given the automatic life sentence because he was involved in a second armed robbery just 14 months after being released from custody.
In February, 2002, a 63-year-old night porter at the Briar Court Hotel in Birchencliffe, was confronted by three men, two of whom were disguised with facepaint and carrying handguns.
Prosecutor Ken Green told Bradford Crown Court that Mr Anthony Wood had been working alone in the early hours when he was forced at gunpoint to sit down and told not to say anything.
Smith, a former barman at the hotel, made his way to the manager's office and used a key to unlock the safe and steal the £2,691 inside.
All three escaped after the raid, but in August last year one of the gang admitted his part in the robbery and named Smith as being involved.
Smith's details were put on the police national computer and he was eventually arrested in Torquay last month.
He told police the robbery was his idea. He believed there was £20,000 in the safe.
He added that he had a drug addiction and owed up to £14,000 to a dealer.
Last month Smith pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence.
The court heard that in October, 1999, he was sentenced at Chester Crown Court to three years detention for identical offences.
Smith had confronted a hotel employee in a car park. He put an imitation gun to the employee's stomach and demanded cash.
Smith was released in December, 2000.
Barrister Timothy Capstick, for Smith, said his client had not actually carried a gun.
Recorder Simon Wood said Smith had changed his life since 2002. He was off cocaine and in a relationship. But a life sentence still had to be imposed.
Smith must serve at least 35 months before being considered for parole.