Jailed: East Ham robber who threatened to bomb shops on his doorstep

Omar Farooq Picture: Met Police

Omar Farooq Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

An armed robber who carried out two bomb hoaxes at shops just one road away from where he lived has been jailed for life.

CCTV footage of Farooq in one of the shops Picture: Met Police

CCTV footage of Farooq in one of the shops Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

Omar Farooq, of Melford Road, East Ham, was sentenced yesterday to a minimum of seven years after being convicted of a string of offences, all of which were carried out in High Street South.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how police were called to reports of a robbery at a supermarket in the early hours of October 17 last year.

Farooq, 63, had approached a supervisor opening the store and pointed an object, which the victim believed to be a gun, at his back.

He forced the supervisor to open the tills then asked to be shown the safe. Farooq fled when a delivery driver arrived and realised what was happening.

The note Farooq handed over at the post office Picture: Met Police

The note Farooq handed over at the post office Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

Less than two weeks later, on October 28, Farooq visited a post office dressed in black with his face covered and slid a note under the counter, telling a member of staff he was carrying out a robbery and had placed a bomb within the store.

He said it would go off in three minutes but would be set off sooner if he wasn’t given money from the tills.

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Before leaving, he placed a small blue alarm clock which he claimed was the bomb inside the store’s photo booth.

On November 7, police were called to a third incident at a newsagents.

Farooq approached the owner with an imitation firearm and demanded money. The victim refused, and other staff members stopped Farooq from forcing his way behind the counter.

He declared he had a bomb and threw a small clock, similar to the one used in the post office robbery, into the store before fleeing.

After a two day trial, Farooq was convicted of two counts of robbery, two counts of possession of an imitation firearm with intent, two counts of a bomb hoax and one of attempted robbery.

Det Con Annie Hendy, 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.”

She added: “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.”