A KNIFE-wielding thief who threw a sandwich at Tesco staff and then racially abused a mother in front her child has been jailed.

Robert Lonsdale, 37, of North Road, Brighton, went on an anti-social behaviour spree on January 12.

Police were called to Tesco Express in Denmark Villas, Hove, after reports that Lonsdale was carrying a knife.

Unemployed Lonsdale took and then threw a sandwich from a shelf, threatened to harm the staff and ran away.

He then crossed the road and entered the Esso garage where he racially abused a mother in front of her two children.

He then attempted to steal a mobile phone from a staff member.

When he could not take the phone, Lonsdale assaulted the staff member and ransacked the store, causing £100 worth of damage.

Lonsdale was arrested in a nearby road after throwing bottles in the street.

He was charged with possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, theft from shop, racially aggravated intentional harassment or alarm or distressing words or writing, affray, attempted theft from a person, criminal damage and the possession of cannabis.

He appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday to be sentenced for the anti-social behaviour spree.

Lonsdale was sentenced to 33 months in prison, and now has to serve a nine-month suspended sentence.

Investigating officer Rose Horan said: “Lonsdale showed a complete lack of regard for his community by his boorish and antisocial behaviour, brandishing a weapon in a supermarket and using foul and unpleasant racist language towards a mother in the presence of her young children.

“Once the defendant was inside the garage, he used violence towards the young attendant leading him to believe he had come into contact with aids, and caused extensive damage within the premises.

“In the interview Lonsdale admitted he was intoxicated while the offences took place and despite being shown CCTV, he couldn’t remember committing some of the offences.

“He even admitted that if he had realised the sandwich he had taken from the shelf was cheese and pickle he would have eaten it and not thrown it back.

“We welcome the sentence Lonsdale has been given by the courts and hope it sends out a clear message to those who carry knives and target individuals based on their race, and that it provides some justice for those involved.”