Exeter's Ernest Jones was also scene of dramatic armed robbery in 1999
THIS week's armed raid on Exeter's Ernest Jones is not the first time the jewellers has been hit by a major armed robbery.
In 1999, the city store was at the centre of a foiled robbery involving notorious gang member James "Jimmy" Roberts.
He was shot in the face by an armed policeman when he went into the High Street store brandishing a sawn-off shotgun in July 1999.
The bullet shattered his jawbone disfiguring him permanently and leaving him with only 10 per cent vision in his right eye.
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Roberts was a leading member of a gang that carried out a series of robberies across London and the South East stealing more than £800,000 worth of jewellery, largely expensive Rolex and Cartier watches.
He was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2000 for 13 years, along with brothers Richard and Jamie Taylor, who were given 10 years each.
They later had their sentences reduced to seven and a half years each.
More recently, the store was hit by three thieves who walked away with more than £38,000 of jewellery unnoticed by staff or shoppers in September last year.
The extraordinary theft, which was over in minutes, took place in broad daylight.
Detectives conducted extensive enquiries to establish how the thieves managed to steal the jewellery from Ernest Jones without being detected.
The suspects opened a secure display cabinet situated on the shop floor, before removing a quantity of Fope jewellery valued at £38,500.
Police said the two men and woman had visited the store – and also a number of other jewellers in Exeter, including the Pandora store, in Princesshay – earlier the same day.