A ONCE promising student was led on a downward spiral of drug-use, culminating in the horrifying armed robbery of a service station attendant.

Nathan James White, 23, moved from Gladstone to the Sunshine Coast in 2013, at which time he was, according to his barrister, young, studying and "very talented".

But it was then that methamphetamine took hold of his life.

Nathan James White has been jailed after pleading guilty to the armed robbery of a Coast servo.
Nathan James White has been jailed after pleading guilty to the armed robbery of a Coast servo. Queensland Police Service

The court heard White initially used the drug recreationally, but it "got too much for him" and he became a heavy user.

On June 5, 2017 White - who was "grossly intoxicated" on the drug at the time - forced his way into the locked Steve Irwin Way service station.

With his face covered by a balaclava and armed with what "appeared" to be a gun, White stormed the store and demanded money from the sole employee working at the time.

CCTV footage of the incident shows the 20-year-old staff member opening the till in preparation for the theft.

After taking just $380 from the cash register White fled in a dark coloured car, fitted with number plates he'd stolen the day before to hide his identity.

He was arrested four days later and has been in prison since awaiting sentencing.

White today pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court to single counts of armed robbery, stealing and enter premises with intent to commit indictable offence, with his mother and grandfather in the gallery to support him.

White's barrister argued given his client's good prospects and family support he should be sentenced to three-years' imprisonment and immediate release, but Judge Gary Long did not agree.

Judge Long said the offence was "particularly serious" and would have had a significant impact on the victim worker.

White was handed a head sentence of four years' imprisonment for the armed robbery, with a parole release day set for June 9, 2018.