An armed robber who took part in a raid targeting high value watches and jewellery was jailed for eight years yesterday.
Gareth Edwards and an axe-wielding accomplice made off with 12 Rolex watches and other items worth a total of £76,648 after victims were threatened they would be attacked.
He described that he was terrified by the events taking place at the timeStephen McCloy
Edwards, 25, jumped over display cases and removed valuables while his sidekick brandished an axe in the face of a shopper and shouted: “Get on the floor or I will chop you and chop the others.”
Following the raid on Duncanson and Edwards pawnbrokers premises in Queen Street on January 15 2014, Edwards fled to Spain to evade Scottish justice but returned after he was held under a European arrest warrant.
A judge told Mancunian Edwards at the High Court in Edinburgh that the raid must have been “a terrifying experience” for those caught up in it.
Judge Robert Weir QC said that CCTV footage he was shown was “eloquent of the violent efficiency” with which it was carried out. Edwards, who has a previous conviction for robbery in England, earlier admitted taking part in the armed raid in Edinburgh and failing to appear in a Scottish court in July last year.
Advocate depute Stephen McCloy said Edwards and his accomplice had entered Duncanson and Edwards with their faces covered.
“The other male brandished the axe in [customer] Euan Ivory’s face and shouted ‘Get on the floor or I will chop you and chop the others’,” he said.
The prosecutor said Mr Ivory lay down on the floor near to display cabinets. “He described that he was terrified by the events taking place at the time,” he said.
Mr McCloy said: “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 the floor.”
The pair then fled the premises with stolen valuables on mountain bikes.
Defence solicitor advocate Ewen Roy said Edwards had now shown “genuine remorse and a good degree of victim empathy and insight”.
He said Edwards had previously been involved in a street robbery in Salford but failed to attend court over it and instead came to Scotland in 2013 to stay with a friend in Edinburgh.
Mr Roy said Edwards ran out of money and got into debt and agreed to take part in the robbery.
The judge told Edwards that he reduced his sentence following his guilty plea.