A heroin addict held a newsagents up at knifepoint just hours after he walked free from court for shoplifting.

Nanu Miah, 35, of no fixed address, admitted pointing a 12-inch bread knife towards shop assistant Wendy Hayes in Martins, in Whitmore Way, on Wednesday, June 10.

Basildon Crown Court was told that Miah, who has 49 previous convictions for theft or attempted theft, had only been given a suspended prison sentence the morning he carried out the terrifying robbery.

He had admitted shoplifting at Basildon Magistrates Court earlier that day and magistrates agreed not to lock him up.

Hours later at 4.30pm, he walked into the newsagents with his hood up, concealing his face, armed with the weapon.

Peter Clarke, prosecuting, said: “Miah selected drinks from the display and handed them over as if to pay.

“He then produced a bread knife with a serrated edge approximately a foot in length and demanded money.

“He said to shop assistant Wendy Hayes ‘give me all the money’. There was difficulty opening the till and he said ‘I am warning you, give me the money’.”

Miah managed to snatch £80 from the till before he scarpered.

He was caught after he left fingerprints at the scene and was captured on CCTV cameras.

Mathew Dance, mitigating, said that some of the money went towards buying more drugs.

He said: “Miah is a man who has had a problem with substance misuse. He is addicted to crack cocaine and heroin and has homelessness issues.

“He understands it was foolish and is deeply remorseful.”

He added that while Miah has been at Thameside Prison since his arrest, he has been trying to rid himself of his addiction and has been prescribed methadone.

Judge David Owen-Jones, sentencing, told Miah: “Within a very short time, having been made the subject of a suspended sentence by a magistrates court, you were at it again but more seriously.

“You branded the knife in a threatening fashion towards Wendy Hayes, who was by herself. It must have been a terrifying ordeal for her.

“She was clearly vulnerable and the threat must have had a scarring effect on that lady.

“You have an appalling record for dishonesty and you committed this crime to fund a drug habit.”

He handed Miah a three-year prison sentence and will be released on licence after a year-and-a-half.

He was ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge and £900 court costs.

Judge Owen-Jones also ordered the knife to be confiscated and destroyed.

*The Echo requested Miah’s mugshot, from Essex Police, but a spokesman said none had been taken.