A MAN who forced a supermarket chain to set up a discount card scheme

in a #250,000 blackmail bid was jailed yesterday for eight years.

Frank Riolfo claimed he had Aids and threatened to contaminate food at

Tesco unless the supermarket piloted a scheme -- similar to its

subsequent Club Card promotion -- at its Dudley store in the west


The cards were to carry details, in a magnetic strip, of a bank

account from which Riolfo would withdraw the cash, and Tesco was to

inform him of the PIN number by placing a coded advert in a national


Hundreds of the cards were handed out to unwitting shoppers and

Riolfo, a 50-year-old salesman, managed to obtain #7000. However, his

scam ended with his arrest at a cashpoint machine, Northampton Crown

Court was told.

Mrs Joan Butler, prosecuting, said that on January 13 this year, the

manager of a Tesco store in Kettering, Northamptonshire, received a call

from a man calling himself St Mary-Ann.

The caller said he had contaminated food at the store and an immediate

search revealed a pack of frozen peas and butterfly prawns had been

injected with black ink.

Three days later, Riolfo, alias St Mary-Ann, sent a blackmail demand

to Tesco's head office in Cheshunt, Hertforshire. It referred to the

Kettering contamination and added: ''As you know by now, the food was

contaminated with pen ink. It could so easily have been a toxic

substance. I am fully prepared to extend my actions unless my demands

are met.''

To get the card's PIN number, he told Tesco to insert the number after

coded entries in the personal announcements of The Times.

One entry was to read ''Give Blessing to St Mary-Ann'' and another

said: ''Thanks for the wonderful time last night. Ring me, Love Mick.''

At first, Tesco refused to go along with the scheme and Riolfo, of

Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, injected frozen meat at the Dudley store,

deliberately leaving behind the syringe.

His letters also became more and more threatening and he told Tesco he

would inform the national press.

In one letter, he said: ''I have Aids. So I have a ready made supply

of infected blood.''

On February 27, Tesco opened a Barclays Bank account, depositing

#25,000, and, in line with Riolfo's request, launched the Club Card

promotion at its Dudley store on March 1.

One of the first of the 500 people through the door was Riolfo's

52-year-old wife Valerie. She walked nervously around the store before

picking up her card, registering with her real name and address -- a

clue which helped police track down Riolfo.

The couple, who married in 1962, toured the country withdrawing money

at random at cashpoints across the Midlands. Riolfo said he would stop

after he had withdrawn #250,000.

On April 22, they were arrested at a cashpoint in Slough, Berkshire.

His wife denied the offences and the charges against her were