Meat cleaver robber spared jail after making 'biggest regret of his life'

Bramford Lane Co-op

Jamie Foster was given a suspended sentence at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting robbery. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A 25-year-old man who wielded a meat cleaver during a robbery at an Ipswich Co-op store just days before Christmas has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Jamie Foster made the “catastrophically poor decision” to commit the robbery after getting drunk because he’d found out he couldn’t see his children over the festive break, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sentencing Foster Recorder Douglas Edwards QC described the circumstances of the robbery as “unusual” and said that although he’d produced a weapon, he hadn’t intended or threatened violence. 

He said the member of staff involved in the incident didn’t appear to have been unduly alarmed and after refusing to give him money from the till had given him two bottles of vodka instead.

“In the lead up to Christmas you wanted to spend time with your children and you were disappointed when you found out that you couldn’t and took to drink leading to what has been described as a bizarre and surreal incident,” said the judge.

Foster, of Richmond Road, Ipswich, admitted robbery at the East of England Co-op in Bramford Lane on December 22 last year and possession of a bladed weapon on the same date.

He was given a 20 month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.

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He was also given a 35 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

David Tremain, prosecuting, said that on December 22 last year at 10.18pm Foster had entered the Co-op store in Bramford Lane and approached the till area.

After producing a meat cleaver and waving it around he demanded money but the shop assistant refused to do what he wanted.

Mr Tremain said Foster said he’d been planning the robbery for four days and needed money for drugs.

He left the store after the assistant gave him two bottles of vodka and the meat cleaver was later found in a nearby front garden.

Robert Pollington for Foster said shop staff had described the incident as being “surreal” rather than terrifying.

He said Foster had been heavily intoxicated when he wandered into the shop and hadn’t made any effort to cover his face.

He said Foster had made a “catastrophically poor decision” to enter the shop and was disgusted with himself and had described what he did as “ the biggest regret of his life.”