Two men who armed themselves with bottles before threatening staff and stealing a thousand pounds’ worth of alcohol at the Morrisons supermarket in Reigate are behind bars after pleading guilty to robbery when they appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Monday 9 December.
Bradley Crane, 33, of Adelaide Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, was sentenced to 22 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of robbery, five counts of theft from a shop and one count of battery. Carl Wallington, 54, of Edridge Road, Croydon, was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of robbery and four counts of theft from a shop.
Abdulahi Mahamud, 32, of Livingstone Road, Thornton Heath, and Andrew Webb, 31, of Eastry Avenue, Hayes, Kent, were both sentenced to 12 weeks behind bars, which has since been served, after pleading guilty to one count of theft from a shop.
Police were called to the incident at the Bell Street store on Saturday, 22 June 2019, following reports that Wallington had threatened a member of staff with violence while holding an object to his back.
Although he escaped uninjured, the employee was left extremely distressed and shaken following his ordeal, believing the object to be a knife. CCTV footage later confirmed the object used was a bottle.
Other staff who were working that day described how, prior to their colleague being threatened, the four men loaded a large number of baskets with alcohol and left the store without making any attempt to pay.
As they left the store, they pushed past a number of members of public waiting at the check-outs.
The men were then captured on CCTV driving away in a silver Mercedes. All four were also captured on the store CCTV during the incident.
Police were called and carried out a search for the four men. Webb and Mahamud were arrested after they were found nearby.
Three baskets containing alcohol were found near their getaway car.
Wallington and Crane were identified by Metropolitan Police officers, who recognised them as they had committed similar offences within their area.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Todd McPhail said: “These men carried out a planned and coordinated attack on a large supermarket in the middle of the day when families were visiting the store and would have seen and heard what happened. The employee who was threatened genuinely believed he had a knife held to his back and was terrified that Wallington would carry out his threats of hurting him. No one should have to put up with such a frightening ordeal when they are just trying to do their job.
“Thanks to a thorough investigation, using CCTV footage and witness accounts, as well as help in identifying the suspects from our Metropolitan Police colleagues, we were able to quickly identify and arrest all four men, who were all remanded until they were sentenced at court.”
DC McPhail added that the sentences “demonstrate that we will not condone any use or threats of violence within our local communities and highlights our commitment to bringing to justice anyone who thinks they can commit such crimes and get away with it.”