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Man jailed for six years over supermarket robberies

7 Jul 2020

A man who threatened staff at two supermarkets with a knife after he was confronted attempting to steal alcohol has been jailed for six years.

Fasal Ali, 38, of no fixed address, brandished a knife at staff of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stores in Bedford when they challenged him over items he was stealing.

Our detectives have also praised the bravery of staff at both supermarkets, whose courage in coming forward led to Ali’s conviction.

Ali’s first offence took place at the Waitrose store in Goldington Road in August 2018.

He got into an argument with two members of staff at the store when they spotted him trying to leave with a number of bottles of brandy via a fire exit.

As he was unable to open the fire door by ramming it with a trolley, Ali instead headed to the front of the store.

When the two staff members followed him, Ali pulled a small kitchen knife from his waistband and threatened them, telling them not to follow him.

He left the shop with around £230 of alcohol and made no attempt to pay for the items.

The second incident occurred the following month at the Sainsbury’s in Clapham Road.

Ali grabbed four bottles of brandy from a shelf and when challenged by staff, drew an eight-inch knife from his waistband and told them not to follow him.

He exited the store before cycling away on a bicycle.

CCTV and witness statements led detectives to Ali, who was found guilty of two counts of robbery and two counts of possession of a knife in a public place.

On Friday (3 July) at Luton Crown Court he was jailed for six years.

Detective Constable Aroop Nandre, who investigated the case, said: “These two near-identical cases brought thuggery and the threat of violence to places where thousands of us do our shopping every week.

“Ali was brazen and almost casual in the way he reached for a knife on two occasions when questioned by supermarket staff. This sort of nonchalance towards wielding knives particularly justifies the sentence we have seen handed out.

“This was obviously a traumatic event for the supermarket staff, who were simply doing their job and have been left understandably fearful by Ali’s conduct.

“We wouldn’t have been able to convict Ali without their help and support, which took tremendous courage and bravery.”

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