A THUG given a potentially lifelong sentence for a £35,000 raid on a Wigan post office has been freed on appeal by judges.
Gareth James White, 23, of Clifton, Manchester, was caged indefinitely at Liverpool Crown Court in February 2008 after admitting robbery and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
That sentence, reserved for dangerous offenders, is almost identical to a life term and meant White could have no hope of freedom until the authorities were satisfied he could safely live in the community.
However, Appeal Court judges have now overturned the open-ended sentence and replaced it with a six-year term. That means White will now be released on licence, having served half his new setence.
White was among a trio of raiders who stormed into the post office in Warrington Road, Abram, Wigan in February 2007, terrorising the staff.
One of the gang was carrying a pistol, while another had a knife in his hand. White, however, insisted he was unarmed. Those inside the post office were ordered to lie down and when one victim failed to comply, he was grabbed by the neck and forced to the floor.
The female cashier was made to open the door to the back office at gunpoint. Inside the office the raiders found a safe which contained around £35,000 in cash. None of the money has ever been recovered.
The gang fled the scene in a BMW which was later found abandoned.