Extortionist linked to Sainsbury bombs

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Sainsbury's have put their stores across Britain on alert after fears that the company is the victim of a hate campaign - believed to be the work of the "Mardi Gra" blackmail bomber.

Three stores in London were targeted with small incendiary devices without any prior warning. Two of the devices were activated, resulting in one man being taken to hospital suffering from minor injuries.

The man who calls himself the Mardi Gra has been terrorising Barclays Bank since 1994 and in 1996 was reported to have turned his attentions to Sainsbury's, threatening to bomb supermarkets unless he is paid pounds 500,000.

Commander John Grieve, head of the anti-terrorist branch, said: "This is the work of a cynical and reckless criminal."

He explained how each explosive was hidden in a video box and placed in a Sainsbury's carrier bag with other shopping.

A blue sticker was then placed on the box offering a pounds 5 reward to the finder if it was returned to a Sainsbury's store.