A former soldier has admitted carrying out a raid on a jeweller and trying to steal two Rolex watches worth £29,100 from a North Yorkshire jewellers.

It was the latest “bizarre” offence by Matthew Massey, 33, who has previous convictions for a bank hold-up and shop robbery, York Crown Court heard.

Massey served in the Army for three years until he was discharged on medical grounds because of his physical health, his barrister Ian Hudson told the court.

Since leaving the Armed Forces, Massey’s mental health had deteriorated from time to time and when it did, he committed crimes.

Massey, of O’Grady Square, Leeds, pleaded guilty to attempted theft of two Rolex watches from Ogden’s Jewellers in James Street, Harrogate and assaulting a member of staff in the shop.

One of the watches was valued as being worth £15,250 and the other £13,850.

The prosecution accepted his not guilty plea to an alternative charge of robbery. All the offences occurred on April 9.

The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, said Massey’s offending was of such a “bizarre, impulsive” nature that he couldn’t bail him.

He remanded Massey in custody until July 9 when he will be sentenced. He ordered the preparation of a probation services report on Massey. The defence team will organise a psychiatric report on him.

Massey was arrested after police issued a public appeal through The Press to identify the raider from the shop’s CCTV footage.

Rob Galley, prosecuting, said Massey had had hold of the watches, but dropped them when the shop assistant grabbed him.

Mr Hudson said of the Harrogate raid: “It is the third offence of this type.”

Massey was discharged from the Army in 2013. In 2014, Massey had walked into a bank with an imitation gun.

He was given a lengthy jail sentence for robbery and was released from prison in 2016.

For a time, he worked full-time but in 2019 his mental health deteriorated again.

After carrying out shoplifting and an offence of possessing cannabis, he was convicted and sentenced again for robbery.

This time he had gone into a shop and stolen items with the use of “minimal” force, the defence barrister said.

He had served two years in jail and been released in 2021.

“Since then, there had been no further offending apart from this one,” said Mr Hudson.

But then Massey's mental health had deteriorated again, and he had been in hospital following a suicide attempt.

He had been diagnosed with a bi-polar condition and severe depression.