A 35-year-old man from Bordon has been jailed for four years and eight months following a robbery in the car park at Lidl in the town on July 1 when he used a knife to cut the strap of a woman’s handbag.

He ran off but she gave chase and he was caught after two men, who heard her cry for help, stopped and disarmed him. They are to receive a High Sheriff’s Commendation for their brave action.

At Winchester Crown Court last Thursday, Ashley Austin, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 56 months for robbery and 20 months in prison to run concurrently for possession of a bladed article. He admitted both offences.

It was at 2.35pm on Friday, July 1, that the 56-year-old woman who had been shopping returned to her car in the Lidl car park in Bordon, when a man armed with a kitchen knife walked up behind her and pulled at her handbag, before cutting the strap, and running off.

The victim shouted for help and then gave chase and two men aged 53 and 46, who saw what happened, also gave chase, catching the suspect and disarming him.

They detained him until police arrived.

Austin was subsequently charged with robbery and possession of a bladed article. He entered guilty pleas for both offences at Winchester Crown Court on Wednesday, August 3.

Following sentencing, Her Honour Judge Evans QC commended the two men who disarmed and detained Austin and has recommended them for a High Sheriff’s Commendation.

Police staff investigator Adam Osborne, who oversaw the investigation, said: “I would like to thank both of the men who detained and disarmed Austin. Without hesitation they bravely and selflessly put themselves in danger to help the victim and to apprehend a robbery suspect armed with a knife.

“Austin’s sentence shows just how seriously the courts view this kind of violent crime, which could have led to someone being seriously hurt.

“I’m pleased that his victim can take comfort knowing that he will be serving a significant sentence for his actions.”