Shopper was threatened with axe during Queen Street robbery

The pawnbrokers sign outside the new Duncanson and Edwards pawnshop in Queen Street, Edinburgh.
The pawnbrokers sign outside the new Duncanson and Edwards pawnshop in Queen Street, Edinburgh.

A THIEF who tried to evade justice by hiding in Spain stole 12 Rolex watches and jewellery worth £76,648 during a ‘terrifying’ robbery at an Edinburgh pawnbrokers, a court has heard.

Gareth Edwards,25, and an unidentified accomplice raided Duncanson and Edwards Pawn Shop in Queen Street, Edinburgh, on January 15 2014.

CCTV footage that was shown in court during the trial of Gareth Edwards and an unidentified accomplice..

CCTV footage that was shown in court during the trial of Gareth Edwards and an unidentified accomplice..

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Edwards and his sidekick entered the shop at 4.50pm and had their faces covered.

The second crook - who had a northern English accent- brandished an axe in the face of shopper Euan Ivory and shouted: “get on the floor or I will chop you and chop the others.”

Meanwhile, Edwards, who is originally from Manchester, jumped over display cases and removed designer watches and other items worth tens of thousands of pounds.

The pair then fled the store on mountain bikes. Edwards was caught after Greater Manchester Police officers were called into help Scottish colleagues who suspected that gangsters from the north west carried out the raid.

The English officers viewed CCTV footage and identified Edwards as being one of the crooks involved in the incident.

However, Edwards still tried to avoid responsibility for his actions. He jumped bail head of a high court appearance last year and headed for Benidorm.

Cops learned that he was hiding out in the holiday resort and managed to extradite him back to the UK.

The story emerged yesterday when Edwards, a prisoner of HMP Saughton, pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery and failing to appear in court on July 29 2016.

Prosecutor Stephen McCloy told the court that Edwards had previously been convicted at Manchester Crown Court and received a 44 month sentence for robbery.

After being released from that sentence, Edwards headed north to Edinburgh with another man.

On the afternoon of January 15 2014, Euan Ivory, a regular customer of the store, was browsing when the two men entered the premises.

Mr McCloy said: “They were wearing gloves and were dressed in identical grey checked hooded tops.

“The other male was also wearing a blue baseball cap under his hood and was brandishing an axe which witness Euan Ivory described as being approximately a foot long with a silver blade.

“The other male brandished the axe in Euan Ivory’s face and shouted ‘get on the floor or I will chop you and chop the others’.

“Euan Ivory lay down on his front on the floor of the shop next to the display cabinets. He described that he was terrified by the events taking place at that time.

“Alan Thomson was the member of staff on the shop floor at that time and he was told by the other male that they were there for money and to empty the till.

“As the other male said this he raised the axe above his head.

“Alan Thomson then removed the till drawer and showed the other male that it was empty. The other male then ordered Mr Thomson to get on the floor.

“The other male threatened Mr Thomson and repeatedly shouted ‘don’t press the button or I will chop you.’ He also shouted ‘We won’t hurt you if you do as you are told.’

“The other male then smashed the display units with the axe and took jewellery from the smashed units.

“Whilst the other male was acting in this way, Gareth Edwards jumped over one of the display cases which allowed him access to the window display.

“Gareth Edwards removed Rolex watches from the display cabinet

“During the robbery other staff members retreated to a safe haven area within the shop and called for the police.

“Gareth Edwards and the other male left the shop and were seen to cycle west.”

Police arrested Edwards after receiving information from colleagues in England. He was detained after police visited another man’s house. They found Edwards hiding under a bed in the property.

He was detained and charged. Edwards was then scheduled to appear at the High Court in Edinburgh last year. However, he jumped bail and headed for Benidorm.

Mr McCloy told the court that detectives learned he was in Spain and liaised with their colleagues there. Edwards finally returned to the UK in April this year.

Judge Weir adjourned sentence and ordered a report into Edwards’s character.

He will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on August 11 2017.