Police release CCTV footage of terrifying armed raid as robbers are jailed for 11 years

Mark Amis, top, and Gareth Downey are pictured robbing the Jules B designer clothes shop. Pics: Northumbria Police.
Mark Amis, top, and Gareth Downey are pictured robbing the Jules B designer clothes shop. Pics: Northumbria Police.
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Police today released footage of a terrifying armed robbery at a designer clothes store - after the raiders responsible were put behind bars for more than a decade.

Mark Amis, 28, and Gareth Downey, 30, have been jailed for 11 years for robbing the Jules B clothing store in Jesmond, Newcastle, armed with a knife and a machete.

Witnesses looked on in horror as they snatched thousands of pounds worth of clothing after being seen driving round the block in a stolen car - blasting Little Mix on the car stereo.

It was one of a number of raids committed at commercial properties at the end of 2015.

But Amis and Downey were identified by detectives using telecomms data and CCTV as the masked men behind the robberies.

Last week they each began 11-year jail terms after the pair, both from Walker, Newcastle, admitted three robberies, two thefts, two arsons and handling stolen goods.

Northumbria Police today released footage of the November 2015 armed robbery and said the sentence is a "strong message" to other would-be criminals.

Detective Sergeant Keith Howells, of Central Area Command CID, who led the investigation, said: "These were very serious offences that left both victims and witnesses traumatised and fearing for their safety.

"These robberies were clearly planned and calculated, but both Amis and Downey were clumsy in their execution of those plans which meant we could stop them in their tracks and put them behind bars.

"It is thanks to hours of forensic investigation into CCTV and telecomms data that allowed us to pin the suspects to the scene and gather evidence from the technology in their possession.

"I want to thank the witnesses in the case, who provided us with vital information to support the prosecution and took videos of Amis and Downey in the aftermath of their criminal activity.

"A sentence of more than a decade sends a strong message to any other criminals operating in our region - we will find you, we will arrest you and we will make sure you spend a long time behind bars."

The pair's first robbery was on September 24, 2015, when two men wearing hoods approached a man parked in Osborne Avenue, Jesmond.

They opened the door, pointed a sharp object at him and stole his £9,500 car. It was later found burned out in Wallsend, with two phones worth £760 gone.

A week later there was a robbery at Storrar Marine Ltd, on the Coast Road, Heaton, during which two men used a pick axe handle to steal cash and designer clothing worth more than £1,500.

Amis and Downey denied responsibility for the raid, but admitted handling stolen goods.

Their offending didn't stop there, and a month later they stole a Hyundai vehicle off the drive of a pensioner in Walker, before raiding a phone and computer shop in North Shields days later.

The next morning the robbers struck at Jules B when they entered the store armed with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a machete-style knife.

Amis and Downey fled with more than £3,500 of clothing.

A day later the Hyundai stolen from the man in Walker was found on fire in North Shields.

The following day police arrested Amis and Downey and recovered some of the stolen property.

They were charged in connection with the robberies and admitted the charges against them as a result of the overwhelming evidence presented to the court by detectives.