A MASKED robber who raided a Widnes jewellers with an accomplice has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Jack McKeown, aged 19, of Plumpton Mews, Widnes, admitted burglary at Neil and Barkers in Green Oaks on Thursday, May 8, 2014.

John Oates, prosecuting, described the incident as a smash and grab.

Lucy O’Gara, defending, said McKeown had hardly any previous convictions and had made some progress in custody.

A number of McKeown’s family were in tears as he was being sentenced.

Sentencing him at Warrington Crown Court on Friday, June 13, Judge Stuart Driver said: “I’m not sure you or the people here supporting you realise how serious this is.

“This was planned by two of you and you targeted premises selling high value goods and snatched jewellery worth £12,000.

“You disguised yourself with masks, had a sledgehammer and were driving a motorcycle in a pedestrianised area where people were walking around and you smashed the windows.

“Witnesses said it was a terrifying sight for peaceful shoppers and one described it as a violent episode.

“A brave security guard tackled and suffered facial injuries and good deal of upset.

“In the end three men restrained you until the police came.”