[A] trio of armed robbers who targeted banks and jewellers across North of England have been jailed today (16 March 2018) for more than 60 years.
The men received a total of 63 years at Minshull Street Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery and possession of firearms at a previous hearing.
Between July 2016 and January 2017 officers from GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group carried out an investigation into several high-value armed robberies across the North.
Code-named Operation Tandem, the trio were pinned to six robberies in Prestwich, Durham, Blackburn, Rochdale and Lancashire.
Following extensive undercover surveillance work, phone and vehicle analysis, they were foiled and arrested in January 2017 whilst carrying out final preparations for a robbery in New Mills Derbyshire.
Among the businesses targeted included a raid on a jewellers in Rawtensall, Lancashire on Monday 11 July 2016.
At about 9.30am two staff members were confronted by two men donning balaclavas and brandishing a sawn off shotgun and a handgun.
They threatened them before jumping into a Chrysler used as a get-away-car and driven by a third man. Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery was taken. The car was later abandoned burned out.
On Wednesday 21 September 2016 at about 10.50am the threesome carried out a bank robbery in Horden, County Durham.
A Ford Mondeo on cloned plates stopped outside the branch whilst an ATM fill up was taking place.
Two masked men got out the car and entered the bank armed with a crowbar and sledgehammer.
This time they left with thousands of pounds before jumping back into the car which was driven by another man.
Officers raided their homes and a lock-up where they discovered crucial evidence including holdalls and clothing used during the robberies, the sawn off shotgun, handgun and ammunition.
- Lee Tansey (7/12/1977) of Innings Drive, Salford was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
- Anthony Gough (7/8/1980) of 260 Blackmoor Drive, Liverpool was sentenced to 21 years.
- Christopher Reuben (30/12/1985) of Wigan Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, was sentenced to 21 years.
Detective Sergeant Rick Castley, from GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group, said: “These men conducted extensive recces on premises and victims, identifying lay-up points and escape routes prior to the robberies. They attempted to leave no forensic trace and avoid detection by switching vehicles, using numerous cloned registration plates, setting fire to vehicles following offences, using unregistered phones and wore construction style clothes during the planning stage to hide in plain sight.”
“Through covert surveillance, painstaking hours of telephony work and extensive vehicle enquiries, we managed to step in and stop them from not only hurting anyone else but also stealing more money. Whilst doing this we also got the crucial evidence needed to secure this conviction today and that’s a testament to all specialist officers who worked on this investigation.
“Tansey, Gough and Reuben were clearly fuelled by greed and as they became more and more arrogant in the fact they were never going to be caught, we were building a strong evidential case against them.
“I welcome the sentences handed down today.”