Two robbers who tied up a jeweller and strangled him until he seemed to pass out have been jailed.

Alin-Viorel Dimofti, 27, of St Albans Road, Watford, Cristi-Adi Mandi, 27, of no fixed address, and another man, attacked the shop owner at a store in Barking, east London, in 2016.

The jeweller thought he was being sold some cheap jewellery - but they were actually there to rob him.

Armed with a stun gun, the robbers incapacitated the jeweller before tying him up using silver duct tape.

The owner was then strangled - he 'played dead' to get them to stop.

Dimofti, Mandi, and the third man, then ransacked the shop of around £400,000 worth of jewellery and fled the scene in a blue Citroen Picasso, leaving their victim covered in blood and traumatised.

Around ten minutes later, the jeweller managed to free himself and he called 999 and police came and watched the CCTV.

Watford Observer:

Alin-Viorel Dimofti, of St Albans Road, Watford, is now behind bars. Credit: Met Police

During their investigation, police realised the attackers had visited the jewellers ten days earlier and be-friended him.

It transpired that on the night of the robbery, Dimofti waited outside the store until the shutters were down and the owner was left alone inside.

Mandi, who was away from the venue, then telephoned the owner to say his friends were outside with jewellery to sell and asked if they could be allowed in despite the store being closed.

The victim then raised the shutter and was distracted by Dimofti offering him cheap jewellery before carrying out the attack.

The three men were now on the run.

The investigation later identified a car containing Dimofti and Mandi entering the UK via the Eurotunnel on December 9 2016 and leaving from Folkstone on the evening of the robbery.

Two months later, European arrest warrants were issued for the two men.

Dimofti was caught in France on March 14 2017 and extradited to the UK where he was charged with conspiracy to rob.

His accomplice Mandi had been caught the day earlier in Italy. He was extradited to the UK and charged with the same offence as Dimofti.

Watford Observer:

Cristi-Adi Mandi has been jailed. Credit: Met Police

They were both found guilty of conspiracy to rob and today (Friday) at Southwark Crown Court, Mandi was jailed for 12 years and Dimofti was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Detective Constable Andy Davenport, from the Met’s flying squad, said: "This was a pre-meditated and carefully planned attack in which the defendants were intent on using extensive force in order to rob the shop.

"As well as suffering physical injury and considerable financial loss, the victim was left traumatised by this incident.

"He has had to relive the events of that night by giving evidence at Mandi’s trial and we hope these custodial sentences bring him some kind of closure.

"We are pleased the defendants are now behind bars and we hope this result shows our commitment to getting dangerous individuals off the streets of London."

The only stolen jewellery police have been able to recover is one gold ring which was found in the robbers' getaway vehicle in March 2017.