The ‘orchestrator’ of a bank robbery faces having to sell the house he co-owns with his father to raise money to pay back his ill-gotten gains.
Shakeel Rafiq was jailed for 10 years in March after a court was told he was the ringleader of a raid at the Co-op bank in West Bromwich High Street.
He was one of six robbers jailed for almost 60 years between them.
At Birmingham Crown Court, the 31-year-old was effectively told to sell his house at Roebuck Lane, West Bromwich, in which he has a 50 per cent stake. That was so he could realise his half of the remaining equity in the property, which the court heard amounts to £45,718.81.
During yesterday’s hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Judge Simon Drew QC made Rafiq subject to a confiscation order which will see him pay back £48,262 in total. The sum also includes the contents of two bank accounts – £307.54 – and another £2,235.69 cash seized from his home by police.
If he does not pay the money back in six months, he faces another 18 months in jail in default of payment, ruled Judge Drew QC.
Rafiq’s co-conspirator Mohammed Masud, 31, also of Roebuck Lane, West Bromwich, had recruited a London team for the raid – on the promise of paying them £40,000 from the stolen cash.
Masud got five years in March and yesterday he was ordered to pay back just £2,000, as that was all the money he had available.
Masud was also made subject of a confiscation order, under which he has six months to pay or he will face an extra 40 days in jail.
During the raid, three men stormed the bank at opening time, threatened two female staff with batons and fled in a car driven by a fourth member with £130,000.
Two others organised the raid – but used a gym at the M5 junction one, West Bromwich, as a lookout and to provide an alibi if caught.
The London team included Ashley Douglas, 29, of Lambeth, twins Ibrahim and Akim Lyazi, 19, of Tooting, and Jamal Mahmood, 23, of Wandsworth. In March, Douglas got a 12-year sentence. The others got 10-year terms. During the trial the jury saw CCTV footage of the Lyazi brothers and Douglas, faces covered, enter as the bank opened on Saturday, November 26, 2011.
Women were seen being grabbed and forced into the back. They were then told to hand over keys for the strongroom where cash was stored. Banknotes were stuffed into holdalls before the three got into a BMW driven by Mahmood.
After a seven-week trial, all six were convicted of conspiracy to rob by a Warwickshire Crown Court jury in January. Douglas was also made subject to a confiscation order yesterday – but had only £4.92 to his name. Judge Drew QC gave him 28 days to pay or face an extra one day in jail.
Miss Neena Baba, defending Douglas, said he had ‘put her in funds’ so he would be able to cover the bill in time. All the money demanded by yesterday’s court orders will be directed to the Co-op Bank by way of compensation, said Judge Drew QC.
The court had previously heard that Rafiq got information about the bank while in a relationship with a bank employee.
All the men denied conspiracy to rob but five, excluding Masud, admitted conspiracy to steal. Judge Drew QC had branded Rafiq the orchestrator of the November 26, 2011 raid during his sentencing in March.
When sentencing, Judge Drew said: “Mr Rafiq heard about the one branch and how the branch was clearly vulnerable to attack – he played a key part and it seems to me that he was central to the plan.
“This was a well planned and professionally executed plan. This case involved a serious breach of trust involving inside information by a bank employee. The other victim was a vulnerable person, a woman opening up a bank and surrounded by those involved in the operation.”
Five were arrested in the following days. Ibrahim Lyazi escaped as police arrived but dropped a bag with £40,000, leaving notes spread across the street. He was eventually arrested in June.
The Proceeds of Crime hearing continues today.