A man who threatened staff with a screwdriver during an attempted robbery at a store in Christchurch has been jailed.

Benjamin Kenneth Fooks, aged 35 and of Christchurch, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday 19 April 2024 to 20 months in prison after previously admitting offences of attempted robbery and criminal damage.

On the afternoon of Sunday 11 September 2022 Fooks entered the Londis store on Stour Road and approached two female members of staff at the counter. He made threats before pulling a long screwdriver out of his pocket and repeatedly stabbing the shop counter with it.

He then began stabbing and dragging the screwdriver down a chewing gum stand in front of the counter, causing damage.

One of the staff members was holding a bottle and bravely held it over her head, and chased the defendant out of the shop before locking the door.

Officers attended, and an investigation was launched. Forensic analysis of the scene obtained a DNA match for the defendant from the chewing gum stand that he had damaged, and he was subsequently arrested on Friday 14 October 2022.

Detective Constable Mohi Uddin, of BCP CID, said: “Fortunately, nobody was hurt during this attempted robbery, but both victims experienced long-lasting anxiety and understandable trauma.

“Police handled these incidents extremely seriously from the beginning, and I would like to thank the victims for the extraordinary bravery they displayed.”

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