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A Crawley man has received a significant custodial sentence after he was caught on camera committing two robberies in the town.
Michael Hooper first approached an elderly man at a cash point at Sainsbury’s in Crawley Avenue, West Green, on 10 April last year and asked him for some money.
When the man refused, Hooper pushed him and snatched the cash from his hand, before running from the scene.
During the second incident on 22 May, he entered a newsagents in Ifield Road, West Green, and attempted to purchase a bottle of whisky.
After his card was declined, he walked towards the till area but was challenged by staff. He then reached over the counter and took a 70cl bottle without paying for it and ran out of the shop.
He returned just over an hour later, this time in possession of two Stanley knives, which he brandished towards staff behind the counter.
Fearing for their safety, the staff activated the security alarm. In the meantime, Hooper again reached across the counter and this time stole two further 70cl bottles of whisky before leaving the store.
Both incidents were captured on CCTV and the defendant was subsequently identified as Hooper, 43, of Leopold Road, Crawley.
He was arrested and charged with burglary, two counts of robbery and two counts of possession of a knife in public.
Hooper pleaded guilty to all five offences and was sentenced to a total of 44 months’ imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court on 24 February.
Inspector Steve Turner, of the Crawley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “While Hooper fully admitted the offences in police interview, it does not lessen the impact on the victims, who understandably feared for their own safety.
“Thankfully we were able to quickly identify him from the CCTV footage, and this demonstrates the value of our officers regularly patrolling the town and being able to recognise people of interest.
“We continue to work with partners and the community to provide education around the dangers of knife crime, and to prevent, detect and respond to any incidents. This case should serve as a reminder that we absolutely will not tolerate knife crime, and anyone caught in possession of a knife in public can expect to be dealt with robustly.”
You can read more about the consequences of knife crime on our website here.