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Charity shop armed robber jailed

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A man who robbed a charity shop at knifepoint has been jailed for nine years at Gloucester Crown Court.

James Burton, aged 40, and of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a bladed article when he appeared before the court earlier this month. He was handed his sentence last Friday (15 September).

The court heard Burton had gone into Longfield Hospice charity shop in Painswick armed with a knife on 2 December 2021.

He held the knife to the throat of a 72-year-old female customer, demanding money from her and the staff member behind the till.

He was given money from the till and the customer before running off. The customer and member of staff were left shaken but uninjured.

After an initial witness appeal proved unsuccessful, a reconstruction was filmed for BBC’s Crimewatch Live which helped to identify Burton as the suspect. Although he initially denied the offences, he later pleaded guilty in court.

In mitigation, the court heard that Burton was a drug addict who had turned to drug use due to significant difficulties in his youth.

Detective Inspector Marcus McInerney, who supervised the investigation, said: “This was a particularly nasty robbery which had a significant impact on the local community and the victims. The offence was exacerbated by the dangerous behaviour of the defendant which could have had tragic consequences.

“I am grateful to the victims and witnesses in this case who were courageous and dignified throughout this frightening ordeal. I hope the lengthy custodial sentence and guilty plea provide some comfort to them.

“I want to thank Detective Inspector Diane Blandford and Detective Constable Heidi Sykes, whose involvement greatly benefitted this investigation.

“DI Blandford brought a wealth of experience to direct novel lines of enquiry while providing leadership, resources and support to ensure a successful outcome.

“DC Sykes was tireless, logical and diligent in her excellent approach. Her empathy and kindness meant she developed a strong rapport with the victims and witnesses thereby easing their journey through the investigation process. She is a credit to Gloucestershire Constabulary.”

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