Kempston man sentenced after armed robbery at Co-Op

Curtis Clarke
Curtis Clarke

A man from Kempston has been sentenced to over four years in prison after an armed robbery at a local Co-Op store in July.

Curtis Clarke, 29, of Kendall Road, was sentenced on Friday (5 October) at Luton Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of an offensive weapon and theft from a shop at an earlier hearing.

At around 6.45am on 27 July, the manager of the shop in St John’s Street was told by a colleague that Clarke was in the store. Suspecting he was shoplifting, the manager approached Clarke who was standing in the meat aisle with the door of a chiller open.

On asking him to leave the store, Clarke pulled a knife from his trousers and said: “I will stab you, I am taking it.” He then put a number of items in a bag and left, returning again a few seconds later to take a crate of beer.

Subsequently, two officers attended Clarke’s home address and arrested him on suspicion of robbery.

On searching Clarke’s home address, a man at the property handed officers five packs of Co-Op meat products and a pack of beer, confirming that Clarke had brought them to the property that morning.

When interviewed, Clarke told officers that if he had not been arrested, he would have gone back to the store to “do the tills.”

Investigation Officer Julia Hinson said: “This was a traumatic incident for all involved; nobody should be confronted in this way while they are at work. I’m pleased Clarke has been sent to prison and hope he’s able to reflect on his conduct that day, and the effect it had on the people working in the shop.

“I hope the sentence he received sends a clear message that this kind of activity won’t be tolerated and isn’t acceptable.”

Clarke was sentenced to four years and four months for the robbery, as well as two months for theft and six months for possession of a bladed article to run concurrently. He will remain on license for an additional four years on his release.