Eight out of 10 convicted robbers are handed down jail sentences of less than five years, figures have shown.
A study of cases that came before the courts over the past three years reveals huge variations in penalties for the crime, depending on the severity of the circumstances.
While minor robberies can result in a suspended sentence, more serious hold-ups, including so-called tiger kidnappings, have ended in criminals imprisoned for up to 14 years.
However, the vast majority of robbers who are caught get sentences of up to five years.
The study was carried out by court officials for High Court Judge Peter Charleton.
It also found that in general, of those jailed for robbery, nearly half (47%) got three years or less; about 30% got three to five years, with just over a fifth (21%) handed down five to 10 years, and only 0.5% got 10 years or more.
Robbery is deemed to be a theft that includes the use of force or the threat of force against a person.
The report states: "It appears that the sentencing in robbery has been relatively consistent and has taken into account factors relevant to each case.
"Similar cases tend to have similar sentences and similar aggravating and mitigating factors serve to effect sentence."