POLICE have released CCTV footage of the moment a 71-year-old have-a-go-hero thrawted robbers armed with sledgehammers who targeted a Bury St Edmunds jewellers.
Michael Graver confronted a man wielding a sledgehammer and grabbed a bag containing £22,000 worth of watches during the raid on Thurlow Champness jewellers.
This week the man who organised transport for the raid was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery at Ipswich Crown Court.
Dwayne Marsh, 34, of Dewey Road, Islington, who had denied the charge, hired a van to transport two scooters, which were used during the incident.
The court heard that Mr Graver, who was in the town centre shopping with his wife Penelope on February 28 last year, had seen two scooters pull up outside the Abbeygate Street jewellers.
One of the scooters was used to smash open the shop door, allowing the two passengers to run inside where sledgehammers were used to smash open display cabinets containing Rolex watches.
Mr Graver also ran inside and was faced by a man holding a sledgehammer in one hand and a bag containing stolen watches in the other. He said the man appeared more interested in getting out of the shop than attacking him.
The jury heard how as the man pushed past, Mr Graver tried to grab him but could not keep hold of his arm and he managed to reach the doorway.
Mr Graver said that as the robber fled he managed to keep hold of the bag containing the gang’s entire haul of watches. The two scooters used by the gang, who had all been wearing black crash helmets, were later found abandoned in Long Brackland.
Andrew Shaw, prosecuting, said that while Marsh had not been in Bury St Edmunds when the robbery took place, it was alleged he had played an important role in the crime by hiring a van in which the two scooters were moved to Suffolk.
Both scooters had earlier been stolen in London, the jury were told.
Giving evidence, Marsh denied any knowledge of the robbery and said that at the time he had been out shopping.
Marsh accepted he had hired a van but told the jury it had been on behalf of a man known only to him as ‘Martin’ and with no knowledge that it was going to be used in connection with the robbery.
He will be sentenced on a date yet to be fixed with four others, who have already pleaded guilty to the same offence.