Police were alerted to the incident at TUI in North Street, Brighton, on the morning of 22 October 2018.
A man entered the premises and approached the counter with a piece of paper that was hand-written with the message: “Pass the money, I am not joking. I have a gun pointed at you, don’t mess about”.
The member of staff, believing it was a genuine threat, proceeded to hand over a quantity of cash before the suspect calmly left the store.
Enquiries revealed the man had entered a nearby pub shortly after the incident, where he left his bag containing personal papers including his birth certificate. It also contained some rolled up paper, believed to be used to imitate a gun in his pocket.
The man was identified as Ian Jowett, 55, from Peterborough.
A few days later, he left the country, boarding a ferry from Hull to Rotterdam. He committed similar offences in the Netherlands and Belgium, where he was imprisoned for robbery.
After serving his sentence, he returned to the UK where he was arrested and charged with robbery, and put before the courts.
He pleaded guilty, and at Lewes Crown Court on 30 July, he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Dan Aubrey-Smith, said: “This has been a long and complex investigation – not helped by Jowett’s attempts to evade capture – but one which we were determined to see through.
“Robbery is an extremely serious offence which we will not take lightly; anyone caught and convicted of such an offence can expect to face the full force of the law.”