IT WAS a case that rocked Cromford – the brutal armed robbery of the town’s Lloyds Bank branch in 1985.
A local security guard was hit in the face with a shotgun, and £7,500 in cash was stolen during the attack by three armed raiders.
But last week the Matlock policemen who helped reopen the case some 25 years later were recognised for their work bringing one of the culprits to justice.
The raiders had made off in a Ford Escort after the attack and eluded capture even after a reward was offered.
But in 2009 police fingerprint expert Danny Redden checked a print from the robbery against the national database – a record which had not existed at the time of the crime – and found a match.
Detective Constables Derek Ellis and Christopher Simcock, as well as former Detective Sergeant Tim Nye, began a painstaking investigation.
It took them all over the country and eventually led to the arrest of 59-year-old Yorkshire man Alan Murray.
The investigation was made more difficult by the fact many of the witnesses to the robbery had moved or died, and the original police officers involved had retired.
It took a week just to find the bank cashier who had been working on the day.
The cashier’s evidence was eventually pivotal in the following court case in which Murray admitted his part in the robbery. He was jailed for ten years in December 2010.
In the past year, two more men have been arrested in connection with the raid, and the investigation continues.
One of the crucial pieces of information was a Crimewatch re-enactment and appeal produced from the BBC archive.
DC Derek Ellis and DC Christopher Simcock received their commendations from the Chief Constable Mick Creedon at a ceremony at police headquarters in Ripley last Tuesday.
Former DS Tim Nye and Danny Redden were also commended but were unable to attend.
Mr Creedon said: “This was an excellent piece of work which shows that we don’t give up on so-called cold cases.
“Thanks to advances in technology and good old-fashioned detective work, a robber has been brought to justice.”