Incidents reported in Kent, Sussex and Surrey
Sevenoaks: Robber Jailed For Jewellers Raid
A bungling armed robber who dropped his gun during a raid and then made a failed getaway on a bicycle has been jailed for nine years.
Steven Ryan, 34, burst into Michael Whitcombe Jewellers in High Street, Sevenoaks, Kent, and told staff to fill his rucksack with "expensive and heavy gold''.
But during the hold-up as staff were closing up for the day on March 4, Ryan dropped his gun and broke the handle, Kent Police said.
As he fled the shop with his bag filled with jewellery worth more than #50,000, members of the public gave chase and caught up with him as he waved his gun at them, threatening to shoot.
Ryan, of Vine Court Road, Sevenoaks, then reached a bicycle hidden nearby but he continued to be pursued and was eventually detained after being cornered in a sports field.
He pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to robbery and possession of a firearm on September 11, and was given a nine-year prison sentence yesterday, a police spokesman said.
Judge Martin Joy praised the actions of those who helped to detain Ryan. He suggested they be given a High Sheriff's Award, and asked for them each to receive £250, as well as a Kent Police commendation.
Detective Constable Graham Hunt said afterwards: "We would never expect or recommend that members of the public chase armed criminals, but I think most people will read this and quite rightly consider the members of the public who detained Ryan to be heroes.
"They gave chase to a man who had threatened them with a firearm, and helped recover over £50,000 worth of jewellery.
"Ryan's actions severely traumatised the staff who, unlike him, were just going about their business earning an honest living.''
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