Michael Laing, OBE, chairman and owner of Laing Edinburgh, has thanked the police and judiciary for arresting and jailing an armed robber who raided his store in March.
Matthew Ferry, 24, stole watches worth almost £250,000 in the robbery after threatening staff with a replica gun. He was jailed for 13 years today at the High Court in Edinburgh.
“It’s extremely reassuring that the spate of robberies at jewellers across Scotland over the last couple of years have resulted in arrests and custodial sentences,” Mr Laing told the BBC.
In the past 12 months, Rox and Laings of Glasgow, both in the prestigious Argyll Arcade have been raided, Hamilton and Inches in Edinburgh was also robbed last year.
None of the criminal gangs or individuals involved are thought to be connected.
Mr Laing said the raid was a traumatising experience for staff, who can be seen threatened at gunpoint on CCTV footage. The company has since installed sophisticated security systems and improved protocols in an effort to deter future crimes.
Matthew Ferry pleaded guilty to the raid, and to abducting a taxi driver by threatening him with the same replica gun as part of his getaway.
In his summary, the trial’s judge, Lord Glennie, said: "It’s clear this must have been terrifying for your victims, both in the shop and the taxi. Offences like these can’t be tolerated."
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC added: "The distressing nature of the incident has had a profound effect on many of the staff within Laing’s. Several staff members required counselling to deal with the trauma of the event."