Four Jailed Over Failed Jewellery Robbery

21 October 2010, 12:49 | Updated: 21 October 2010, 12:51

Four men have each been sentenced to six years imprisonment for attempted robbery after being arrested following a failed raid on Austin Jewellers in North Street, Chichester, on Tuesday 11 May.

Anthony Green, 23, of no fixed address, Michael Hannan, 20, of Dwerryhouse Lane, Liverpool, Roy Hickman, 26, of Grovehurst Avenue, Liverpool, and Stephen McGowan, 24, of Ashbury Road, Liverpool, were sentenced at Chichester Crown Court on Wednesday 20 October.

Elias Morgan, 20, of Highgate Street, Liverpool, had also pleaded guilty to the same offence but remains in custody for sentencing in Merseyside on 26 November for this and other matters.

The five were pursued after the attempt on the jewellers, and were swiftly tracked and arrested in boggy ground some miles away.

Detective Sergeant Colin O'Hare said;

"The sentence imposed on these robbers sends out a clear picture that to attempt a crime of this magnitude carries with it significant risk if caught. These men were at the jewellers for literally seconds and escaped with nothing. Now they only have long prison sentences to serve for their efforts".

The Sussex Police helicopter, Roads Policing officers, neighbourhood officers and police dog teams were quick to respond when it was reported, at 3.36pm that afternoon, that men were escaping after smashing the windows of the jewellers with baseball bats and sledge hammers.

The men used three stolen cars from Merseyside and changed the number plates to conceal their true identity in order to aid their escape, but advances in Police CCTV systems allowed them to be swiftly located and resulted in a police pursuit on foot across fields in the area of Stopham and Coldwaltham near Chichester.

The police helicopter was invaluable in finding the offenders after they ran from one of the stolen cars, using thermal heat sources to locate all five in undergrowth after they had swum through a stretch of river, and directed ground officers to make the arrests.

The stolen Audi they decamped from contained the sledge hammers used in the crime. This and the two other cars, a Ford Focus and a Volkswagen, were all located and recovered by police.

Detective Sergeant O'Hare added;

"We would like to thank the staff on duty at the jewellers at the time of this offence. This was a frightening experience for them all, but their support, the help of several key members of the public who witnessesed events unfold and provided statements and detailed forensic works completed by the investigating team, has resulted in early guilty pleas and convictions."