“Ali was brazen and almost casual in the way he reached for a knife"
Fasal Ali, aged 38, of no fixed address, has been jailed for six years over robberies at two supermarkets in Bedford.
He brandished a knife at staff members at Sainsbury’s and Waitrose when they confronted him over alcohol he was stealing.
Ali’s first offence took place at the Waitrose store in Goldington Road in August 2018.
He had got into an argument with two members of staff at the shop when they spotted him trying to make off with several bottles of brandy through a fire exit.
Ali tried to open the fire door by ramming it with a trolley. After the attempt was unsuccessful, he headed to the front of the shop.
When the two staff members followed him, Ali pulled a knife from his waistband and threatened them, telling them not to follow him.
Ali fled the shop with approximately £230 of alcohol and made no attempt to pay for the items.
The second supermarket robbery happened in September 2018 at Sainsbury’s in Clapham Road.
Ali grabbed four bottles of brandy from a shelf. However, when he was confronted by staff, he drew an eight-inch knife from his waistband and told them not to follow him.
He then left the shop before cycling away on a bicycle.
CCTV and witness statements led detectives to Ali. He was found guilty of two counts of robbery and two counts of possession of a knife in a public place.
Ali was sentenced to six years in prison.
Bedfordshire Police detectives praised the bravery of staff at both supermarkets, whose courage in coming forward led to Ali’s conviction.
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.”
Ali was previously jailed for four-and-a-half years in March 2019 for harassing his ex-partner which involved him breaking into her home, sending her threatening messages and calling her frequently.