29th Jun, 2022

WANTED: Suspected robber of menswear boss outside Coventry bank - after Solihull accomplice jailed

Felix Nobes 2nd Aug, 2019 Updated: 2nd Aug, 2019

POLICE are hunting a suspected Coventry robber – after his Solihull accomplice was jailed for six years.

Wanted man James Stokes, 29, was believed to have fled the country but police put out an appeal yesterday (August 1).

A Coventry Police spokesperson said: “He is wanted in connection with a robbery of a large amount of cash from outside Barclays bank on Coventry High Street in December 2016.

“Reece Smallwood, aged 25, from Solihull was jailed for six years and eight months on Tuesday, July 23 and we are continuing to try and trace his accomplice.

“We think Stokes may have left the country, but do you have any information?”

Smallwood of Moredown Avenue, Solihull, ran his own tailoring business with clients who include boxers and reality TV celebrities.

During Smallwood’s trial the jury heard that on December 28, 2016, a man believed to be Stokes jumped out of a stolen Mercedes, and ran up behind David Godfrey, owner of Chameleon Menswear in the West Orchard Shopping Centre, Coventry city centre, and barged him into a wall before snatching a bag containing £40,000 – which he was to pay in at the bank.

CCTV cameras showed the incident, the robber jumping back in to the car and it speeding away.

Mr Godfrey was later found to have suffered two cracked vertebra, a broken shoulder bone and a punctured lung.

Smallwood, who worked under the victim at the menswear shop, fell under suspicion after police officers investigating the robbery found he had made a series of calls and texts to Stokes in the lead-up to the robbery, the court heard.

And when Stokes, who has since absconded, was arrested, cell-site analysis showed the location of his phone matched that of the Mercedes as it moved into position and later sped away.

Anyone with information should contact police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight or call 101 anytime, quoting crime 20CV/256506A/16.

Crimestoppers can be called anonymously 0800 555 111.

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