A man who carried out a string of armed robberies across two counties has been jailed.
On 29 October 2013, Nicholas Overton, 35, originally from Sheffield, appeared at Chester Crown Court after admitting three armed robberies.
He also asked a further seven robbery offences, one burglary two theft from motor vehicles and an attempt theft of £7,000 to be taken into consideration.
He was sentenced to six years for each charge to run concurrently.
Overton, who was on day release from prison, carried out a burglary at a photo shop in Frodsham in Chester on 23 August 2013. He then failed to return to prison and embarked on a spate of armed robberies in Crewe, Macclesfield and Staffordshire.
An investigation ensued with Macclesfield NPU officers and CID detectives working alongside their colleagues in Staffordshire, to piece together evidence that would capture Overton.
DI Robert Hassall said: "Our initial thoughts were that the robberies weren′t connected. Knife point robberies tend to be localised and these were happening in two different towns and in a different county.
"As the investigation progressed, the method of crime, clothing and further enquiries led officers to believe they were in fact connected.
"A lot of work went into identifying how they could be linked, in order to gather enough evidence to get a breakthrough. "
Before the DNA that identified Overton as a suspect was discovered at the scene of one of his crimes, officers acted on information from the public following the witness appeals featured in the media. Searches were carried out and a number of people were arrested and eliminated from the enquiries.
During one of the robberies in Crewe, at a shop in Crewe Road, Haslington, Overton′s watch came off when he was grappling with a shop assistant before making off.
Detectives attended the scene and found the watch in the till.
DI Hassall said: "This left vital DNA traces which were fast tracked in order to find a match."
The DNA came back as matching Overton and the search began in the Macclesfield area but was unsuccessful.
Information led officers to believe Overton was in Crewe. Response officers and detectives in Crewe were alerted.
As a result a local detective spotted an Audi A6, hidden away in the far corner of a car park near Hardwicke Court, backing up information which was coming through that he could be hiding in sheltered accommodation.
DI Hassall said: "A decision had to be made with regard to the safety of officers and the public now that the Overton had been traced to sheltered accommodation in Crewe.
"The officers were about to approach a man who was wanted for armed robbery and had injured a shop worker at a premises in Macclesfield.
"Careful consideration was given and armed officers attended to help execute a safe and successful arrest."
Overton was interviewed and subsequently charged with one offence.
He was interviewed again about more robberies in the East Cheshire and Staffordshire areas and was charged with two further offences of robbery and asked for six robbery offences and a burglary to be taken into consideration. He appeared in court and was remanded into custody.
Enquiries continued as the investigation team believed he had committed more offences. He was interviewed again and a further robbery, two thefts of number plates and an attempt theft where identified, all of which Overton asked to be taken into consideration.
DI Hassall said: "There is a lot of work that goes on in the background in complicated investigations such as this, which the public don′t get to see. Staffordshire did an equally good job and between them, the team in Congleton, Macclesfield and Crewe, we are seeing a dangerous man back behind bars."