A JEWELLERY shop owner, his staff and a member of the public all bravely tried to foil a violent armed robbery by two masked crooks.

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court heard how desperate attempts were made by several people to thwart masked crooks who entered St Nicholas Galleries, Bank Street, in the city, at about 2.20pm on June 6.

As owner Craig Carruthers - whose premises had been targeted previously - attempted to deter the first robber who went into the store with his face covered, he was punched in the face and suffered a broken nose.

“It didn’t actually stop Mr Carruthers. He continued to resist,” prosecutor Antony Longworth told the court. “The lady assistants in the the shop also did what they could. The robber shouted to them ‘don’t you sound the alarm’. But they did.”

“Mr Carruthers picked up a small step ladder which was behind the counter,” Mr Longworth added. “Mr Carruthers, despite the broken nose, went for the robber with the step ladder, trying to push him out of the shop and managing to do so, and he fled, taking what jewellery he had been able to grab with him.

A second masked accomplice also entered the store. He was carrying a fire extinguisher which he then used to strike a street bystander who courageously tried to take keys from the ignition of a stolen getaway Ford Fiesta outside the shop.

This was driven off by the robbers and abandoned in an alleyway off Chiswick Street, where some of the loot was recovered.

The prosecution allege that Daniel Burtak, 32, and 36-year-old Ashley Entwistle were the robbers. They were stopped while travelling in a Audi on the M6 southbound in South Cumbria just before 4pm.

Entwistle, the driver, spoke to police. Burtak initially ran off but was captured and other items of stolen jewellery were found nearby. Both the Fiesta and Audi were said to have been driven from Bolton to Cumbria on stolen plates earlier that day, and were captured travelling along streets around Carlisle city centre before the jewellery shop raid on a “reconnaissance” mission.

Burtak, previously of Kaber, near Kirkby Stephen, but now of no fixed address, and Entwistle, of Athlone Street, Bolton, deny robbery.

The trial continues.