Milkman Pete Watson was on his round carrying out deliveries on Canal Street, Barnsley, when he was approached by thug Daniel Bligh in the early morning of December 30 last year.
Knife-wielding Bligh lashed out at the victim in a completely unprovoked fit of rage, cutting him across his hand then making off in his van, leaving him stranded.
The milk van was later found abandoned on Lang Avenue in Lundwood.
Mr Watson, who is well-known and respected in the community, needed 26 stitches to the gash on his hand, and was left unable to work physically and emotionally.
But in a move of goodwill, friends, neighbours and customers rallied around to raise hundreds of pounds to aid his recovery.
Bligh, 30, of no fixed abode, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court today (Wednesday) charged with robbery and possession of a bladed weapon.
Temporary Detective Constable Rebecca Robinson of South Yorkshire Police, who was the investigating officer in the case, said: “This was an unprovoked attack on an innocent victim who has served his community for many years and is well respected by all who know him.
“Following the robbery we appealed for information from the public to help us identify the offender and we received information that proved vital in this case.
"I would like to personally thank those people who responded to that appeal as this allowed us to work continuously to get Bligh into custody and build the evidence against him to ensure he would not be released.
"This case shows that the public will not tolerate incidents like this within their community."
Det Con Robinson added: “Following the incident, the victim’s family, friends, neighbours and customers rallied round to raise money to help him through his difficult time. I think this again demonstrates the great community spirit that we have in Barnsley.
“I am pleased with today’s sentencing and hope that knowing Bligh is being held responsible for his actions will bring some closure to the victim and his family.”
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