A man carried out a knife-point robbery at a Norwich store because his benefits were about to be stopped, a court heard.

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Kevin Laskey, 56, stole £200 from the Earlham Shopper, Earlham West Centre after threatening staff with a knife.

Laskey, of Beecheno Road, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after previously admitting the offence on January 20 this year.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting, said the defendant demanded and took “exactly £200” despite being handed a much larger amount.

Mr Kelly said: “He said in interview that’s what he needed because his benefits were going to be stopped the following week. It indicates there was some abnormality of thought process”.

The sentencing had been adjourned until yesterday for psychiatric reports on Laskey, who is being held at a secure unit in Essex.

Jude Durr, for Laskey, said he had nothing further to add apart from to say the two doctors agreed he met the criteria for a hospital order.

Recorder Peter Wallis sentenced Laskey to an indefinite hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act.

The robbery was the second at the store in 
just a few days.

Earlier this year Darryl Hindley, 20, of no fixed abode but formerly of Beecheno Road, was sentenced to three years after he admitted the robbery at the store on January 9 during which he threatened a member of staff.

Speaking earlier this year Nigel Dowdney, 
who owns the shop, insisted he “definitely” will not be beaten by robbers.

Mr Dowdney said: “I definitely won’t let them beat me. I’m shaken but not stirred – we don’t give up.”

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