Armed robber's accidental confession

A MAN who robbed a Bendigo convenience store at knife-point coloured his eyebrows to avoid being identified but later bragged about the crime to a covert police officer, a court has heard.

Luke Raymond Brooks, 23, held up the 24-hour convenience store on Williamson Street with a large knife on December 17 last year, just weeks after being released from a youth justice facility. 

The balaclava-clad man entered the shop shortly after 3am and drew the 20cm blade, demanding cash from the sole attendant and getting away with about $650 from the til.

Brooks, from Bendigo, pleaded guilty to the armed robbery on Friday.

Bendigo County Court heard Brooks bragged about the incident in the hours following the robbery, telling friends he'd stolen $2000.

When arrested at Hargreaves Mall later that morning he denied involvement in the crime.

Four days later, a covert police officer known as "Tommy" was planted in Brooks' jail cell.

The court was told Brooks admitted the armed robbery to the officer and tried to sensationalise it, telling him he'd scooped $16,000 and had been charged with falsely imprisoning the store worker.

He also told "Tommy" he had coloured his eyebrows to avoid being identified.

When asked why he'd done robbed the store, Brooks said he'd been overcharged for a packet of cigarettes and needed money to buy drugs.

Crown prosecutor Peter Jones said Brooks was had a criminal history including a conviction for robbery in 2009.

He tendered two victim impact statements from the store attendant and shop owner.

Defence barrister Samantha Poulter told the court her client was a youthful offender who had suffered significant difficulties as a result of an intellectual disability.

She said Brooks had completed a youth justice sentence in November last year and was living in a caravan park when things began to quickly fall apart and he resorted to drug use.

Ms Poulter tendered several psychological reports which suggested Brooks would be vulnerable in an adult prison, where he had already been assaulted by inmates, and would benefit from a youth detention facility followed by supported accommodation.

Judge Duncan Allen told Brooks were it not for his age, mental health issues and longstanding development problems he would be looking at a substantial jail term.

Allen ordered Brooks be assessed for a community corrections order with an attached justice plan, but warned him jail time was not off the cards.

"You've done a serious armed robbery, you're not going to get a slap on the wrist," he said.

The case was adjourned until September for sentencing.