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25 April 2013, 16:45
A man who robbed women at knifepoint in Norwich has been jailed.
Michael Velvick preyed on young women and would threaten his victims with a kitchen knife before stealing their handbags.
Velvick, of Cotman Fields, Norwich appeared at the city's crown court today Thursday 25 April after pleading guilty to five counts of robbery at an earlier hearing.
He also asked the court to take four similar offences into consideration in connection with robberies at newsagents.
On June 16 last year, Velvick robbed two women in separate incidents in Drayton Road and Magdalen Road. The victims, aged in their 20s, were approached by Velvick from behind who snatched their handbags before fleeing the scene.
In October last year Velvick committed three robberies in two days, targeting women in Aylsham Road, Westwick Street and Marriotts Way.
In one incident he targeted a woman as she walked with her 14-month-old baby daughter in Marriotts Way. He waved a knife in front of the victim and searching the bottom of the pram before snatching her handbag.
Many victims had their phones stolen and it was police enquiries into these stolen phones which led officers to arrest Velvick who also admitted to carrying out similar offences at newsagents across the city.
The 40-year-old asked the court take four similar offences into consideration in connection with raids at Angel Road Stores on 17 April, Aylsham Road Stores on 9 July, C&B Stores on 30 July and M&M Stores in Wingfield Road on 8 October.
CCTV footage of the Angel Road incidents shows Velvick entering the newsagent before threatening the shopkeeper with a knife. He then grabs the till, eventually cutting the electric cord with a knife, before trying to escape. The shopkeeper pushes a display stand in his way causing Velvick to drop the till. He continues to make threats, waving the knife at the shopkeeper before picking up the till and running out of the store.
Detectives Constable Craig Brooke, who investigated the street robberies, said: "This was a nasty series of offences which were all committed against lone women at knifepoint.
"Velvick's decision to plead guilty ultimately shows the weight of evidence against him and I'm pleased that his victims will not have to relive their traumatic experiences giving evidence at court."
Velvick was jailed for a total of six years, a sentence welcomed by Norwich CID Detective Inspector, Richard Graveling.
He said: "These frightening offences were committed by a dangerous individual who I'm pleased to say has been taken off the city's streets for several years.
"Our investigation followed many lines of enquiry over a period of several months, ultimately leading to Velvick's arrest.
"Officers were determined to catch the person responsible and this case should serve as a warning to others."