A man threatened to set a Melbourne shop assistant on fire after dousing him in petrol during a spate of armed robberies, a court has heard.
Kepa Kemp, 40, appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates' Court charged with five armed robberies in the city's west.
Police allege he stole $2500 in cash and about $3000 in cigarettes from a Werribee tobacconist on December 10 while armed with an axe.
After leaving the shop with the stolen goods, Kemp allegedly stood in the street and yelled "who wants cigarettes?", Senior Constable Matthew Taylor told the court.
Two weeks later on Christmas Eve, Kemp allegedly walked into a Hoppers Crossing pharmacy and doused a shop assistant with petrol.
Police say Kemp told the man "give me your money, I have a lighter and I'll use it".
Kemp then allegedly splashed the man with more petrol before making off with $300 in cash and the assistant's wallet.
The 40-year-old is also accused of using a knife to rob another man on Boxing Day and brandishing an axe to rob a fifth victim of his mobile phone the following day.
Kemp, who has been in custody since he was arrested on December 28, was denied bail by Magistrate Suzanne Cameron on Thursday after police said he could reoffend.
"The actions of pouring petrol on the victim and threatening to set him alight are extremely concerning to police because they were not known to him and there was no provocation," Sen Const Taylor said.
The policeman says the former disability worker had ongoing drug and alcohol problems that posed a risk to further offending.
Kemp has allegedly told police he drinks four litres of cask wine a day.
"It takes a lot of time and commitment to put down four litres of wine a day," Ms Cameron said.
She said time in custody would be an opportunity for Kemp to "dry out."