Armed raiders jailed

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TWO men have been sentenced to 10 years each in prison following an armed bank raid.

Justin Hulme, 27, of Norbury Street, and Darren Hope, 33 of Maple Crescent, Leigh, were both jailed by Preston Crown Court judge after admitting armed robbery at an earlier hearing.

The incident happened at the Lloyds TSB branch on Hough Lane in Leyland last May 23 which was followed by a police car chase ending in Standish.

At around 9.45am that day two masked men wearing dark clothing, one armed with a gun, the other with a sledgehammer threatened a security guard who was delivering cash inside the bank and made violent demands for money.

During the raid they held a gun to the head of the security guard as well as threatening staff and innocent members of the public who were forced to lie on the floor.

The men then fled the scene in a grey Ford Mondeo having stolen a significant quantity of cash. The car was found abandoned on Rushwood Park in Standish later that morning. A major investigation was launched and inquiries led to the arrest of Hulme and Hope.

Det Chief Insp Geoff Hurst, head of CID for Southern Division said: “Today is the culmination of a lengthy police investigation stretching over six months and I am pleased with the sentences handed down by the judge at court.

“This was a meticulously planned and executed robbery on a bank in the heart of Leyland community. The two men were organised and calculated. They had clearly researched their crime and went to great lengths to secure their escape.

“I cannot imagine how terrified the staff and the customers must have felt that morning. To be greeted by two men brandishing such intimidating weapons must have been a terrifying experience. We have offered them support and hopefully the fact the robbers are now behind bars can be of some comfort to them.”