A Carlisle garage worker was confronted by an angry robber who marched into his shop to demand cigarettes.

The city’s crown court heard that Shawn McClean, 52, had a long history of mental health problems - including psychopathic tendencies - but at the time when he committed his latest offences at the city’s Wigton Road Esso Garage his usual medication had been interrupted.

McClean admitted robbery and causing criminal damage to scissors, a till, and a first aid box.

The offences were outlined at an earlier court hearing. Prosecutor Peter Kelly had told magistrates how McClean walked into the garage at 4.30pm and approached the young man working there alone.

McClean approached the till and asked for 400 cigarettes.

The assistant asked for payment first before handing over the goods, but the defendant told him: “I’ll give you £100 if you help me get them home.” Another customer then walked into the shop, and the defendant asked him for a lift home.

He demanded: “Do you know who I am?” The defendant then started swearing and when the assistant hit a security switch to prevent anybody from leaving the shop McClean hit the till screen.

He then lit a cigarette, prompting the assistant to cut the fuel supply to the pumps.

McClean responded by grabbing a pair of scissors and trying to prise open the shop doors.

After the incident, the worker said: “I’ve worked at the shop for nine months and never had to deal with something like this.

“He was so angry and threatening. Shortly after the incident, I felt overwhelmed.”

In court, defence lawyer David Wales told Judge James Adkin that McClean was suffering from profound mental health problems.

There were periods when his medication was effective. “He’d had been taking anti-psychotic medication,” said the lawyer. “However, that medication was interrupted.

“I’ve seen him twice and he was perfectly calm and entirely rational. But this morning, he’s extremely unstable and suffering from delusions and he is clearly not well.”

The lawyer said that McClean, of Stonegarth, Morton, should be sentenced only after a psychiatric assessment. A hospital order was the likely sentence, he suggested.

Judge James Adkin agreed. He adjourned the case for a sentencing hearing on June 10, ordering a psychiatric report. McClean was remanded in custody.