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Last week Leon Holder, 21, of Hawkhurst, Kent and William Smith, 30, of Cranbook, Kent were sentenced at Brighton Crown Court to seven and six years respectively for a robbery at Friar House Antique Jewellers in High Street, Battle.

On Friday, September 17, at around 11am, Holder and Smith walked into the jewellers. Smith was dressed as a Royal Mail postman and pretended he had a delivery to gain entry to the shop, which was always locked from the inside.

He and Holder smashed the display cabinets and took a diamond bracelet and two diamond rings worth £15,850. Manageress Maria Swain, 44, and Susan Jenner, 67, acted quickly to activate the store alarm, which alerted the police, and then used metal poles as makeshift weapons to push the robbers out of the store.

Members of the public intervened and Smith was detained in the street until police arrived. In his mugshot, taken later that day, Smith's swollen black eye and cuts sustained during the counter-attack can clearly be seen.

A search for the second robber was launched and Holder, who had fled on foot with the jewels, was arrested later the same day. He admitted causing grievous bodily harm when he knocked down an elderly man during his getaway.

Detective Inspector Ian Williams of Rother CID said: "This was a very frightening incident that happened on a busy high street in broad daylight. "I would like to thank the two female members of staff who showed immense bravery and the public who detained Smith at the scene until police officers arrived.

"I am delighted to see that the public-spirited actions of these people have helped us arrest and convict Holder and Smith. I will be recommending them to receive official recognition for their brave actions."