Wigan man jailed for 21 years after string of armed robberies
A trio of armed robbers, including a man from Wigan, have been jailed for more than 60 years after targeting banks and jewellers across the north of England.
Police said the men were "fuelled by greed" and did not believe they would be caught as they carried out armed robberies around the country.
But Christopher Reuben, 32, of Wigan Road, Ashton, Lee Tansey, 40, of Innings Drive, Salford, and Anthony Gough, 37, of Blackmoor Drive, Liverpool, are all now behind bars.
They were each jailed for 21 years today at Manchester's 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 Greater Manchester Police'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 Rawtenstall. Following extensive undercover surveillance work, phone and vehicle analysis, they were foiled and arrested in January last year while carrying out final preparations for a robbery in New Mills, Derbyshire.
Officers raided their homes and a lock-up where they discovered crucial evidence, including holdalls and clothing used during the robberies, a sawn-off shotgun, handgun and ammunition.
Det Sgt Rick Castley, from the 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."
In one incident, staff at a jewellers in Rawtenstall were confronted by two men donning balaclavas and brandishing a sawn-off shotgun and a handgun at around 9.30am on July 11, 2016.They threatened the workers and took jewellery worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The robbers fled in a Chrysler, which was driven by a third man and later found abandoned and burned out.
They also raided a bank in Horden, County Durham, at 10.50am on September 21, 2016, driving there in a Ford Mondeo with cloned registration plates and parking outside while a cash machine was being filled.Two masked men got out of 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.