A masked raider armed with a potato peeler called a Motherwell betting shop worker a “stupid cow” and left empty-handed when she refused to give him money.
The brave woman had been aware of Lee Jackson going in and out of the Paddy Power premises over a four-hour period.
Scott King, prosecuting, told Hamilton Sheriff Court: “He was wearing hi vis gloves and had his hood up.
“At 9.25pm a member of the public was outside the betting shop when Jackson, who had a scarf covering his face, approached and asked if he had any spare change.
“The man refused his request and the accused went back into the bookmakers.
“The female worker was alone and Jackson approached the counter, which didn’t have a bandit screen.
“She became aware that he was holding a small potato peeler. He held the knife up and said ‘Give me your money’.
“The witness refused and stood where she was. Jackson repeated his demand three times, but she continued to refuse.
“He then called her a stupid cow, turned and left the shop.
“The police were contacted and officers identified the accused through CCTV.”
Jackson, 35, a prisoner, admitted assault and attempted robbery at the bookies in Brandon Parade, Motherwell, on March 2.
Defence agent Diarmid Bruce branded it an “amateurish and pathetic” robbery bid.
He said Jackson once ran his own construction company, employing 35 people, but the business failed and he turned to drink and drugs as his life “disintegrated”.
Mr Bruce said: “At this time he was living on the street because he was homeless and he had no money as his benefits had been sanctioned.
“He had been hanging about Motherwell town centre for hours that day. You find a lot of people with similar problems at this location.
“There is CCTV everywhere. He had been drinking and taking valium, and he doesn’t have total recall of events that day.
“He has previous convictions for assault, but this is an unfortunate step up for him.”
Passing sentence, Sheriff Thomas Millar told Jackson: “This was clearly not a well thought out or well-executed plan, but it’s still a serious matter when you present a knife at an employee.”
The sheriff jailed him for 18 months, reduced from two years because of his early guilty plea.
It was backdated to May 13 as Jackson has been in custody since then.