London: An Indian-origin robber who dressed up in a burqa to steal from a jewellery store while threatening a shop worker with a knife in the city of Leicester has been jailed for over four years behind bars.
Imtiaz Patel, 42, had pleaded guilty to the knife-point robbery and possession of a bladed weapon. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment for the robbery and a concurrent nine-month imprisonment for possession of the weapon at Leicester Crown Court on Monday.
Patel was also sentenced to an additional two months imprisonment for breaching a community order, with the total jail time adding up to four years and two months.
"It was thanks to the quick-thinking and excellent response of the officers on patrol that Patel was detained so quickly. Their actions of catching Patel as he left the scene of the crime left him with no choice but to admit the offence," said Detective Constable Anna Thorpe of Leicestershire Police.
The court was told how Patel was wearing a burqa and had a scarf across his face when he had entered the jewellery store in Haymarket area in the heart of Leicester last month. He was looking at a Rolex watch, valued at around 7,000 pounds, when staff became concerned about the way he was acting.
Patel asked to see another watch, leading to the member of staff saying she would have to put the first watch back. Patel then produced a knife and made threats to another staff member who was standing near the shop door before running off with the watch.
A police constable and police community support officer (PCSO) were in the area on patrol in a car when they saw Patel running down Church Gate in Leicester. Their attention was drawn to Patel and they followed him and saw the watch in his hand before detaining the suspect to carry out a search. He was arrested soon after on January 5.
The knife, which Patel had dropped as he fled the shop, was picked up by another member of the public and taken to the shop. Further investigative work, including CCTV analysis, led to Patel being charged the same day of the offence, Leicestershire Police said.
"I'd like to thank the victims of this offence for being fully co-operative with our investigation following what must have been a terrifying incident. Patel showed no concern for anyone else when he carried out this crime and the consequences of his actions could have been far worse," added Thorpe.