Armed robbers jailed for string of raids at jewellers and banks including gunpoint heist at a Brighouse store

TWO robbers have been jailed for 12 years each for their roles in seven terrifying armed raids on jewellery shops and banks.

Kiiam Kirby and Sam Hall, both 22, were in a gang who brandished a fake gun and sledgehammers as they snatched jewellery and cash worth £831,860.50.

Police outside V Neimantas Jewellers after one of the raids

Police outside V Neimantas Jewellers after one of the raids

The heists included two at V Neimantas jewellers in Brighouse in one week.

In the first, balaclava-clad Kirby and a masked accomplice smashed the window of the Commercial Street shop with sledgehammers while Hall waited in a stolen Audi.

Owner Steven Neimantas tried to fend them off with a baseball bat but they fled with jewellery worth £16,354. Witnesses to the 9.30am raid last August 12 were threatened when they tried to block their escape.

A week later, on August 19, the robbers returned with an imitation handgun.

Katherine Robinson, prosecuting at Leeds Crown Court, said: “One man who was wearing a balaclava pointed the handgun at Mr Neimantas and shouted: ‘Get down, get down, I want to see your hands’.”

Kirby, brandishing a sledgehammer, filled a bag with diamond rings and bracelets worth £116,084 and the pair fled in another stolen getaway car driven by Hall.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Neimantas said he considered selling his shop, which had been robbed twice before.

Miss Robinson said: “He suffers anxiety and stress and is tearful when he thinks about what happened to him.”

Kirby and Hall were also involved in near-identical raids on three other jewellers.

Rolex watches and jewellery worth £56,000 were snatched from S Manning in Otley on August 2, and stock worth £21,385 was stolen from Caines in Wetherby on September 2.

Lister Horsfall in Ilkley lost goods worth £600,000 and manager Sam Brown was pushed down a flight of stairs as he tried to protect his shop on September 8.

Kirby and Hall also targeted Santander, robbing £22,000 from its Otley branch on August 25 after a failed raid on its branch in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, on July 18.

They were arrested on September 14 after extensive CCTV enquiries and evidence from witnesses. Both admitted conspiracy to rob.

Their barristers said the ringleaders of the plot had not yet been caught.

Nicholas de la Poer, for Kirby, said: “In terms of hierarchy he is not at the very apex of the pyramid.”

Richard Reed, for Hall, said: “He is a foot soldier, a follower and his role was limited to that of driver.”

Kirby, of Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, was jailed for 12 years.

Hall, of Recreation Grove in Holbeck, Leeds, was locked up for 10 years for the robberies and sentenced to a further two years for burgling a Leeds pub.

Judge Sally Cahill QC said: “Clearly these robberies were extremely well-planned. Each involved at least two vehicles and it’s clear that some of these vehicles were used in reconnaissance in the days leading up to them.

“On each occasion, two people went in, they were masked and had sledgehammers and on one occasion there was an imitation gun.

“Whilst I accept it was an imitation, for those in the shop at the time would have been every bit as terrifying as a real firearm.”

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Beldon said: “These men were callous and calculated in their mission to steal thousands of pounds in cash and jewellery, terrifying innocent members of the public along the way.

“I am pleased these dangerous criminals have been removed from the streets and can no longer pose a threat to our communities.”