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Monday 18 February 2019 14:33 (GMT)
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Afternoon Show

With Dean Kayne

Robber jailed for bomb hoaxes in East Ham High Street

An armed robber has been jailed after committing a series of crimes, including multiple bomb hoaxes, in East Ham High Street.

Omar Farooq, of Melford Road, was convicted of two counts of robbery, two of possession of an imitation firearm, two of a bomb hoax and one of attempted robbery.

The 63-year-old was sentenced to life imprisonment and will serve a minimum of seven years.

Officers were originally called to a robbery at High Street South in East Ham in October 2017.

Farooq had entered a supermarket and pointed an object, believed to be a gun, into the back of a supervisor.

He fled after a delivery driver arrived at the store and realised what was happening.

There was another robbery at a post office in the same road later that month when Farooq gave a member of staff a letter saying he’d planted a bomb at the site.

He also said he had a gun.

Police were called to a third incident in November after Farooq attempted to rob a newsagents on the same road.

He had an imitation firearm and demanded money, but the victim refused.

Farooq declared he had a bomb and threw a small clock into the store before fleeing.

Officers discovered blood particles on one of the clocks and it turned out to be a match to Farooq.

Detective Constable Annie Hendy, of the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “Farooq targeted venues along a road just around the corner from his home address. He was actually a regular customer at two of the locations. These horrific offences had a huge impact on the tight-knit trading community within the area and left one family feeling as if they had no option but to sell their premises after 33 years of trading.

“Farooq is a career criminal who tried to claim in evidence he had retired from a life of crime. He showed no regard for the welfare of his own community whilst carrying out these terrifying robberies. He also showed no respect for the criminal justice system and absolutely no remorse despite having previously been jailed for exactly the same offences he has now been sentenced for.”

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