A knife wielding thief has been jailed for five years after stealing a man's car and spraying a substance in his face.

Johnnie Murrill, 25, of Byfletts, Pitsea admitted to robbery and fraud by false representation after he threatened a 20-year-old with a knife, demanding cash and stealing the victim's Ford Focus.

The approached the man in Byfletts, reached through the window and took the keys out of the ignition.

A spokesman for Essex Police, said: "A substance identified as CS gas was then sprayed in the victim’s face by Murrill.

"Murrill, who was armed with a knife, then demanded money from the victim before driving off in the Focus.

"His accomplice, Ryan Rogers, followed behind in his own car, a Volkswagen Golf.

"The victim’s wallet had been inside the Focus at the time it was stolen at 12.30am on February 22 and his bank card was used twice at a petrol station a few hours later.

"CCTV images showed the man using it was Murrill."

The stolen vehicle was later found dumped in Aydons Close, Wickford, later that morning.

Officers also found a hammer and CS gas canister inside of Rogers' vehicle.

A wallet and store card belonging to the victim were found nearby.

While enquiries were ongoing with Rogers, Murrill arrived at the scene and was arrested by officers.

After admitting to the crime in July, Murrill appeared at Basildon Crown Court again on Wednesday August 29, and admitted to driving without a licence and driving with no insurance.

He was jailed for four years for robbery and a suspended sentence of 12 months was also activated, making a total sentence of five years.

He was given six penalty points for the driving offences.

Rogers also admitted to two counts of possession of an offensive weapon – a hammer and CS gas - when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court on July 24.

He returned to court on Wednesday, August 29, where he also pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drugs.

He was given a nine-month jail term suspended for 18 months and a supervision order for 18 months.

He was banned from driving for 12 months.