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Robber made calamitous decision when his giro failed to arrive
A ROBBER held up a shop with a knife for just £50 because his giro had not arrived, a court heard yesterday.
Matthew Riley - who had never before been in trouble - was desperate for cash to use as a bond for a new home.
His lawyer said he made a "calamitous" decision when he learned he was being "sanctioned" by the Benefits Agency.
Riley, 20, went to the shop in Middlesbrough, but returned home to get a knife to reinforce his threat to staff.
After storming into Savers Store in Grange Road armed, he demanded money and took all the notes from the till.
Graham Brown, mitigating, said "a toxic combination" of events left Riley at the centre of "a perfect storm".
He said he had broken up with his girlfriend, lost his home, had not eaten for five days and could not get a job.
Mr Brown said the benefits blow was the final straw, and added: "He did something he would never have considered."
He told Judge Howard Crowson: "We have a young man who has made a mistake of such serious proportions.
"We have had a catastrophic and calamitous decision-making process on this day."
Judge Crowson described Riley's first appearance in court as "a tragedy" but said he must be jailed.
Riley, of Crescent Road, Middlesbrough, admitted robbery and having a blade, and was locked up for two years and four months.