Police have praised the bravery of staff at a Blackburn jewellers as two men this week started jail sentences totalling 26 years for their part in a violent armed raid on the store.
Danny Booth, 27, and Scott Mardsen, 28, were part of a group of four masked men who forced their way into Humberstones Jewellers armed with axes and machetes while the store was open for business last July.
They smashed through every glass cabinet in the shop, making off with jewellery and watches worth more than £300,000 and causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. The stolen jewellery has never been located.
One of the gang threatened a member of the public with an axe as they made their escape in a red Volkswagen Golf.
A short time later the group were seen subsequently moving from the Golf into a grey BMW car.
After being pursued by officers from Greater Manchester Police, the BMW was found abandoned in Bolton.
Booth and Marsden were located around two hours later attempting to get into a Range Rover vehicle in Bolton and arrested on suspicion of robbery.
Booth was jailed for seven years, six months, while Mardsen was handed a 19-year sentence which included time for other drugs related offences at Preston Crown Court.
DC 200 Nick Talbot from Blackburn Police said: “I am pleased with this result and hope that it sends a clear message that we will investigate and bring to justice to those who come into Lancashire to commit these violent crimes.
“The staff working at Humberstones that day managed to run into the back of shop, fearful of what may happen to them. Thankfully no workers or customers were hurt by these thugs.”
DC Talbot said the investigation is ongoing and it is confident of making more arrests in the near future. “Booth and Marsden did not act alone and despite the pair being dealt with by the courts, there are still two outstanding offenders who we are still very much committed to locating,” he said.