A 24-year-old man has been jailed for nearly three years after stealing a blind man's phone and forcing him to travel to a cash point to pay to get it back.

Zach Zeto, of Mullholland Road, Mitcham, approached a 22-year-old partially-sighted man from Croydon as he was waiting on the platform at Mitcham Junction, Blackfriars Crown Court heard on Monday.

When the man got his iPhone 5 out of his pocket to check the time, Zeto snatched it and demanded payment in exchange for returning the phone, warning him not to shout for help.

Not satisfied with the small amount of change the blind man offered, Zeto forced him to travel with him to Mitcham Eastfields rail station to withdraw more money.

But when the man alighted at the station to do so, Zeto stayed on the train, taking the phone and change with him.

The man reported the theft to police and activated his phone's tracking software, tracing the phone to the Brixton area.

British Transport Police (BTP) officers then identified Zeto and he was arrested.

Appearing in Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday, he was sentenced to 33 months in prison.

Detective Constable Mark Agrippa, from BTP robbery squad, said: "This attack was a terrifying ordeal for the victim, who is registered blind, and was understandably scared of Zeto’s threats, giving him some money and agreeing to get more for him.

"I can only imagine how intimidated he felt, which makes it all the more commendable that he reported the offence to police and helped us fully in our enquiries."