A POST Office raider has been sent back to jail for arming himself with a knife just days after being released from a six-year sentence.

Garry Williams was filmed on CCTV pulling out the miniature meat cleaver and swinging it towards a group of homeless men who were taunting him in the street.

He had been freed a week earlier from an 81 month sentence for a terrifying robbery at Thorverton Post Office, near Crediton, in which he wore a mask and threatened a 22-year-old female cashier with a realistic looking imitation pistol.

Williams was moved from Exeter Prison to HMP Swaleside in Kent a month before he was due to be released in June this year which meant that a plan to arrange housing for him fell through.

He was given a £75 release grant and a rail warrant to take him to Torquay and ended up sleeping on the street because the hostel at Factory Row was full.

He fell out with other homeless people who recognised his bag as being prison-issue and falsely accused him of being a paedophile.

It led to him producing a weapon which looked like a meat cleaver but had a blade which was only a couple of inches long.

The CCTV footage showed him wielding the knife at a group of men, who backed away, before staggering up Factory Row with it in his hand. He was obviously under the influence of drugs.

Williams, aged 41, admitted affray and carrying a blade in public and was jailed for four months by Recorder Mr Simon Levene at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him that he hoped a better package could be put in place for him when he is next released so he could address his long standing problems of drug abuse and mental illness.

Miss Victoria Bastock, prosecuting, said the incident happened in the centre of Torquay near the entrance to Factory Row shortly after 9pm on July 5 this year.

Williams told police he had little memory of it because he was on drugs.

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Williams is trapped in a cycle of offending in which he is released without the support he needs to stay clean of drugs and away from trouble.

He said Williams has recently been diagnosed as having a personality disorder and complex PTSD and is now receiving some help for his mental health at Exeter Prison.

He said: “He has spent all but about four months of the past 17 years in prison. He can do prison. The challenge for him is doing release.”

In the previous case, Williams was jailed for six years and none months in 2017 for robbing the Thorverton Post Office on September 22, 2016, and stealing £2,000 cash which he planned to hand over to a drugs gang to pay off a debt.

He fled on foot down an alleyway before getting into a car and escaping into the countryside. He was caught after he crashed his getaway car into a hedge near Bickleigh.

A quick witted police officer spotted him walking away from the wreckage and arrested him as he tried to carjack the driver of a vehicle which was stuck in a traffic jam.

The money was recovered from his clothing and the crashed car, where police also found the scarf and hood he used as a disguise and a note which he had planned to use during the robbery.

It read: "I have a gun and a knife. No GPS box or dye. Think of your family. The money is insured, hand it over."