A top cop in Burton has revealed for the first time the manpower behind bringing two armed robbers to justice.
Inspector Bob Champeau, of Burton Police Station, said dog units, detectives, as well as firearm experts all helped ensure Michael Ahearne and Robert Duffey were brought to justice after robbing Tesco Express, in Stanton Road, Stapenhill, and the post office and store in Draycott in the Clay.
Inspector Champeau also said he hopes the convictions bring reassurance to the community that these men are now off the streets.
He said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the public who assisted the police at the time of this incident.
“When offenders enter a store or post office, armed and threatening, the effect on those victims can be huge.
“This was a most serious offence and the conviction of these men was made possible thanks to the help of members of the public.
“By working together the police and community can combat crime and anti-social behaviour and this is an excellent example of that partnership.
“The local policing team, working with detectives from the Force Safeguarding and Investigation Unit, specialist firearms and dog units, the CPS and the public all played an important role in being able to secure these convictions at court.
“Both the post office and local shop in Draycott, and the Tesco Express in Stapenhill, are important community assets, and what happened has affected many individuals.
“I hope the community can take some reassurance knowing these two have been found guilty and are now behind bars awaiting sentence.”
How they were caught.
Three masked men burst into the Tesco Express on the evening April 12, last year. One held a firearm and demanded cash from terrified staff. The money was duly handed over and they fled into the night, with £450.
The following morning, on April 13, the trio then ran into Draycott’s store and post office, again, demanding cash. After rifling through the till in the shop, two of them jumped over the counter to the post office, demanding more. They then ran off, with more than £800 in cash and cigarettes.
It was at the end of the Draycott robbery that the men sealed their own fate. They ran from the store, followed by a suspicious motorist who made a note of a partial registration plate number of what turned out to be the getaway car. As they screeched away, they attracted the attention of another motorist who even took a photo of the vehicle. It was enough for the police to link the car to its owner, James Harvey.
The car was later traced to Swadlincote and was being driven by Harvey’s father. He had been asked to pick his son up from an address in Byrkley Street, Burton. Armed police descended on the address the next day and the trio were found hiding out. During police interview Duffey decided not to speak to the police, while Ahearne simply said he was with his girlfriend during both robberies.
Finally, DNA found on clothing dumped on a towpath linked the men to the robberies, as well as a pellet found on the floor of the kitchen in Byrkley Street.