Jail for jewel raider

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A KNIFE-WIELDING armed robber from Eastwood has been jailed for three and a half years following a raid in Heanor.

Nicholas Butcher, 26, from Stanley Court, was caged after admitting the robbery and possessing a knife.

During the raid at Cresta Gems jewellers, on Ray Street, Heanor, Butcher threatened staff with a six-inch knife before fleeing with a £1,100 necklace.

Sentencing Butcher at Derby Court on Thursday, March 17, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said: “Robberies of small shops are a serious matter as they are more vulnerable than some of the bigger ones.

“It has to be a custodial sentence to protect people like that.”

Shop manager of Cresta Gems, John Phyllis, was there on the day.

He said Butcher had tried on several items of jewellery before deciding to take the gold necklace.

As Mr Phyllis thought he looked suspicious, he had already triggered an automatic locking system in an attempt to stop the robber from fleeing.

But Butcher then brandished a knife and threatened Mr Phyliss and a fellow staff member before breaking the locks on the door to make his escape.

Dean Bower, in mitigation, said that Butcher had made a full admissions to the police and said he would like to apologise to the shop assistant he threatened.

Butcher was given credit for indicating a guilty plea at the earliest possible occasion.

And Judge Mooncey said he had shown ‘genuine remorse’.

He also praised the have-a-go-hero who gave chase after Butcher as he made his escape and gave vital information to police which resulted in Butcher’s quick arrest.

Carl Ottewell, from Loscoe, who had been shopping in the store during the raid, cornered Butcher outside the Market Hotel, on Market Street.

Butcher lunged at him with the knife, but Mr Ottewell continued his pursuit, following Butcher along Johnson Avenue.

He eventually commandeered his friend Kevin Aslam’s work van to continue the pursuit. The pair spotted Butcher crossing fields near Langley Mill before heading back to the shop where they told police of the robber’s location.

Butcher was caught within minutes because police recognised a ‘distinctive tattoo’ on his hand described to them by witnesses.

The self employed plumbing and heating engineer was commended by the court and awarded £250 for his bravery.