A Hastings robber faces up to 14 years in jail for a desperate sunny Sunday morning job botched so badly he was gone by lunchtime.

Appearing in Hastings District Court yesterday, desperate father-of-six Daniel Raumano Hanley, 33, admitted the knifepoint robbery of the Karamu Road Dairy, which happened about 10.30am on August 28 - soon after he told his son he had "a job to do" at the dairy, grabbed another child's "Spiderman" school bag and headed out the door.

Thanks to the teamwork of the store owner, the public and the police, Hanley and an accomplice were arrested within an hour and after three weeks in custody, Hanley has now learnt some of the harsh reality about aggravated robbery - successful or otherwise.

Judge Tony Adeane gave him the statutory three-strikes warning and reminded him the maximum penalty available is 14 years.


Hanley, with "Hastings" tattooed across his cheeks and nose, was remanded in continued custody for sentencing on December 1, a clear indication his next Christmas dinner won't be with the family and that he will be dining with fellow inmates in prison.

Armed with knives, masked and carrying the school bag, Hanley and his associate each brandished knives as they robbed a shop assistant of cigarettes, tobacco and cash, including the shop's till-sleeve of $2 coins.

Police were given almost a running commentary as the pair fled, spotted first by the store owner who was in a vehicle outside and who tooted his horn to alert other members of the public in the busy area on the State Highway 2 route a few hundred metres northeast of busy Sunday shopping destinations such as The Warehouse and Mitre 10 Mega at the former Nelson Park, and the K Mart Plaza.

The pair fled around the corner into Mayfair Ave where one member of the public stopped and asked them if they had robbed the dairy. Hanley waved the knife in the direction of the motorist and told him to get back into the car and leave.

The robbers then fled up a driveway, breaking a fence as they scaled the barrier into a Briggs Place property where they discarded their knives and asked a woman in the back yard to hide them in her house.

She told Hanley "No!" but fearing for her safety acceded to his request to drive them to the nearby Anvil Court Motor Lodge, a motel and longer-stay accommodation where the pair had already showered, changed their clothes and transferred the loot to another bag when the police arrived.

Arresting the pair and finding all of the cash and goods stolen from the dairy, police were told by Hanley he and his partner were both out of work and couldn't afford their rent, food and clothing, and that he felt the robbery was the only option for his family.

The robbery was one of a spate of at least 17 in Hawke's Bay since May 26 targeting mainly tobacco products. Police continue to seek offenders, including a trio who robbed Napier's League Park Dairy last Friday night.