Independent jewellery store owner slams court for the sentence of two men who carried out a smash and grab robbery on his store a little under a year ago.

The sentences of the two men who carried out the crime at Joseph Welch Jewellers in Wellington have been described as “a joke’ by the namesake store owner.

Two men in their twenties – Joseph Hale (23) and Thomas Bell (26) – pleaded guilty to charges of robbery at Joseph Welch Jewellers in South Street on August 11, 2018.


During the smash and grab, the two men used a pick axe and a metal pole to smash the window and steal watches to a value of £11,000.

At Taunton Crown Court, Hale was handed a 16-month prison sentence, while Bell received a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, 240 hours of community service and a five-month tagged curfew.

As reported by Wellington Today, business owner Joseph Welsh is not satisfied with the sentences.

The paper report Welch saying: “The sentences are a joke. The chances of being caught were slim and the risks are worth the reward, which is why crime continues.

“When you think of the risk to the public during the attack, had anyone confronted them, while they raced away they could have caused a crash. They stole a car to do the job. Also consider the cost to catch them as they escaped – huge numbers of police were involved. Then a court appointed a barrister to defend them both. The risks of life and cost to the tax payer are huge.”

Welch also complained that he wasn’t told one of the men would be in court, so he wasn’t able to see justice being served.