A hapless robber has been jailed for four years after he had his mask ripped off by a shopkeeper.

Delano Thomas, 40, tripped and fell when he first tried to enter Ashton Stores in Luton on January 23 this year, before returning and attacking the shopkeeper and causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage to his business.

Thomas denied robbery but was found guilty following a trial at Luton Crown Court today.

Thomas first entered the store at 10.44am – tripping over the step on his way in. He was wearing a mask and was asked to leave by staff.

He returned to the store a few minutes later and forced his way behind the counter – smashing bottles of alcohol in the process.

However, the shopkeeper fought back and, in the resulting scuffle, dislodged Thomas’ face covering.

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A delivery man entered the store towards the end of Thomas’ spree and tried to help the shopkeeper prevent Thomas from leaving, but he was able to push past them.

Thomas made off with two bottles of spirits worth around £55.

However, because his face mask had slipped, police were able to identify him from the CCTV footage and arrest him.

Detective Constable Rachael Lyndon, who investigated the incident, said: ‘This was a violent robbery in which a staff member was left terrified all for just two bottles of alcohol.

‘Unfortunately for Thomas, who attempted to cover his face, his mask slipped which meant we were able to identify him quickly.

‘The court result is a great outcome and we are happy to have secured some sense of justice for the victim. Hopefully this case will serve as a warning that crime doesn’t pay.’

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