A SHOP customer has admitted stealing alcohol in two violent robberies at convenience stores in Torquay.

Patrick Grady hit a shop assistant over the head with a claw hammer during the second attack but the victim only suffered a cut on his scalp because his head was protected by his dreadlocked hair.

Grady, aged 33, of Corfe Avenue, Torquay, admitted robbing a shop in Belgrave Road on January 21, and the Ellacombe News shop in Victoria Road on April 11.

Judge Anna Richardson adjourned sentence until next month, remanded him in custody, and ordered the probation service to carry out an assessment of whether he poses a risk to the public.

She told him the sentence for the first robbery on its own would be at least three years and nine months and said: 'The pre-sentence report will not need to look at community based options but will look at risk.'

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said Grady was filmed on CCTV punching a shop assistant during the first robbery, which took place after he was refused service because he was drunk.

He responded by attacking the cashier and threatening him with one of two bottles of vodka which he stole.

He said the second robbery had been pre-planned and Grady had gone into the shop with another man and while armed with a hammer. They stole bottles of vodka.

The cashier had been hit over the head with the hammer and was lucky to escape more serious injury when he was attacked with the weapon.

He said the attack could have caused a fractured skull but that the victim suffered only a gash to his scalp because Grady’s blows fell on his dreadlocked hair.

Miss Evie Dean, defending, said the first robbery had been committed on impulse and with no planning.