Matthew Ferry jailed for armed raid on Laings jewellers in Edinburgh
An armed man who robbed an Edinburgh jewellers before hijacking a taxi at gunpoint has been jailed for 13 years.
Matthew Ferry, 24, stole watches worth almost £250,000 from Laing the Jewellers in March before hijacking the private taxi, which had its driver and passenger inside, to make his escape.
When police searched his home they found cash, drugs and weapons including a submachine gun.
He pleaded guilty to five charges at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The 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."
Ferry used a replica pistol in the robbery.
When armed police detained him at his grandmother's home they found he had a Mac-10 sub machine gun and ammunition for the weapon along with heroin with a street value of more than £50,000.
Lord Glennie told Ferry he would have jailed him for a total of 17 and a half years, but for his guilty pleas.
The judge was shown footage of the robbery taking place and a ballistics expert firing the sub machine gun.
Ferry, from Edinburgh, admitted threatening to shoot staff at the jewellers on 2 March this year during the assault and robbery.
He also pled guilty to abducting taxi driver David Bell and his passenger Euan Mitchell, illegal possession of the banned sub machine gun and ammunition and being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug.
The court heard Ferry, who has previous convictions for offences including drugs, weapon possession, assault and public disorder, had been freed on bail from Edinburgh Sheriff Court six times in the months leading up to the attack.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said: "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."
The prosecutor said that the taxi driver did not work for a month after his abduction due to stress and the fear caused.
He added: "He is apprehensive about driving his taxi in case a similar incident happens."
Defence counsel Jack Davidson QC said it was accepted that Ferry had pled guilty to "very serious charges".
Mr Davidson said Ferry felt "really bad" about how other people were affected by the offences and had asked him, via the court, to apologise.
Michael Laing, chairman and owner of Laing Edinburgh, said: "We are thankful that the individual who appeared in court today pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him following the robbery at our Frederick Street store in March.
"It was a traumatising experience for all of our staff at the time and thankfully we can now put it behind us.
"We have introduced highly sophisticated security measures and heightened protocols in our store to deal with incidents such as this robbery.
"However, 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.
"Police Scotland should be commended for their efforts and with regards to our particular incident we would like to acknowledge their support throughout the whole process."
Det Ch Insp Stuart Houston, of Police Scotland, said: "Matthew Ferry showed no regard for the welfare of staff in the jeweller shop or the occupants of the car that he entered, while he carried out this audacious armed robbery in one of Edinburgh's most popular streets.
"However, thanks to the assistance of the public and our investigations, we were able to trace Ferry, recover a firearm and a significant amount of drugs.
"I hope today's sentencing will deliver a clear message that all resources available to the police will be used to tackle those involved in such serious offences, remove drugs and firearms from our communities and ensure that those who carry out such offences are brought before the courts."