A man carrying an imitation firearm who demanded money from a post office and local store in Costessey and Mattishall and made off with a charity box has been given an 11-year sentence today.

Lewis Orford, 30, of Townhouse Road, in Norwich has been given an 11-year extended sentence at Norwich Crown Court today (Wednesday 26 May 2021) to serve seven in custody and four on extended license for robbery, two counts of attempted robbery and two counts of having an imitation firearm with intent after previously pleading guilty to the offences.

Orford is seen on CCTV at around 2.40pm on January 26 2021 walking into Hart Stores in Costessey holding what looked like a shotgun, pointing it at the shopkeeper demanding she open the till and ‘give me your money’. The shopkeeper refuses to hand any money over and as an elderly customer enters the store, Orford then points the gun in her direction, she refuses to hand over her purse and he flees empty-handed towards Townhouse Road.

Just 20 minutes later, Orford walks into Victoria Stores in Mattishall, and points an imitation gun at the shopkeeper. He demands she open the till and when she refuses to hand over money, he grabs an air ambulance charity box from the counter and makes off.

CCTV footage showed the robbery at Harts Stores and further CCTV footage covering the movements of Orford following the robberies taking place. On January 29 2021 an air soft gun and clothing matching those used in the robberies was discovered by a member of the public on grassland in Costessey. Witnesses also gave a clear description of Orford and his movements.

DI Alix Wright said: “We are pleased with this significant sentence and we praise the bravery of the victims for their actions although acknowledging this incident would have a significant impact on them.”