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Thursday 04 January 2018, 4:34 PM

A Cirencester man who threatened shop workers with either an axe or meat cleaver before fleeing with cash has been jailed for eight years today, Thursday 4 January.

Gloucestershire Constabulary appealed for witnesses following a number of robberies which took place in Cirencester and Stroud in September by a man who covered his face with a white dust mask.

Calls from members of the public along with CCTV footage and evidence left at the scenes allowed officers to arrest and then charge 35-year-old Phillip Holmes.

On 13 November Holmes admitted taking part in four robberies in just over the space of a week and also pleaded guilty to four charges of possession of a pointed article in a public place, namely an axe or a meat cleaver.

In one incident Holmes, of South Cerney, grabbed a female customer by the arm stopping her from escaping the shop before he picked up the shop till and fled.

Officers had arrested Holmes after the third robbery in four days but there was not enough sufficient evidence to charge him and he was released under investigation. 

Holmes was then arrested and charged following a fourth robbery which he committed less than a day after he had been released from custody.

He was found by officers in a street close to the scene around 20 minutes following the final robbery after officers recognised his clothes from CCTV footage. A green satchel was also found nearby which contained items of clothing and a meat cleaver. 

Investigating officer, Gloucestershire Constabulary's crime team detective constable Denise Reen, said: "These crimes would have been terrifying ordeals for the victims involved and for those who witnessed Holmes armed with either an axe or a meat cleaver

"Thankfully no-one was hurt during the callous crime spree and he will now face a lengthy sentence behind bars which reflects the severity of his offences.

"This case is not only the result of great police work in locating and identifying Holmes but it shows how priceless information from the community can be as intelligence which came in following our witness appeals helped lead to this conviction."

On 13 November at Gloucester Crown Court Holmes admitted committing robberies at four premises while in possession of either an axe or a meat cleaver. 

The premises were; Chesterton Stores on Countess Lilias Road in Cirencester on 20 September, Chalford Community Store in High Street, Chalford in Stroud on 22 September 22, Beeches Store, Upper Churnside in Cirencester on 23 September and The Mounties, Mount Street in Cirencester on 27 September.

At Gloucester Crown Court today Holmes was jailed for five years and four months for the robberies at Chesterton Stores, Chalford Community Store and Beeches Store. 

He was also sentenced to two years and eight months to run consecutively for committing the fourth robbery at The Mounties.

Holmes was also sentenced to 12 months for each count of possession of a pointed article in a public place to run concurrently, making the total sentence eight years.

 

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