Smash-and-grab raider has jail term cut

A ROBBER who took part in a broad daylight smash and grab at a Battle jewellers has had his sentence cut by a third on appeal.

William Smith, 30, of Tenterden Road, Golford, Cranbrook, Kent, was one of two men who carried out the audacious daylight raid on Friar House Antique Jewellers, in Battle, on the morning of September 17, 2010.

Smith was jailed for six years at Lewes Crown Court on February 17 this year, having pleaded guilty to a single count of robbery.

On Wednesday Lord Justice Richards, Mrs Justice Macur and Mrs Justice Sharp, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, cut that sentence by a third to four years.

The court heard that Smith’s accomplice tricked the staff at the jeweller’s shop into letting them in by posing as a postman, wearing a stolen uniform.

The pair then rushed in to the shop, smashing a glass display case as an alarm blared.

Smith’s accomplice made off with £15,800 worth of necklaces and other valuables, but Smith was captured by heroic passers-by and restrained until the police arrived.

His lawyers today argued that he ought to have been given a discount to his sentence for pleading guilty despite the fact that he was caught red-handed.

Mrs Justice Macur, giving the court’s judgement, agreed, saying he could have chosen to deny robbery and plead guilty to a lesser offence.

Allowing the appeal, she said: “We bear in mind the lack of weapons or serious injury, although this robbery was more sophisticated than some.

“There is a reasonable argument that he could have pleaded not guilty to robbery and pleaded guilty to burglary.

“The appropriate sentence for this offence on a guilty plea would have been one of four years,” the judge concluded.