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Supermarket raiders get a combined 100 years in jail

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Gang members who stole more than £1 million in cash, property and vehicles in a rampage of violent robberies and burglaries across the Midlands have been jailed for more than 100 years.

Nine of the gang of 14, who targeted supermarkets and banks, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today.

Among them were Mark Hazel, 35, from Leaside Avenue, Rugeley, Connor Robertson, 25, of Wood End Lane, Lichfield and Tyrone Reid, 25, of Cromwell Street, Dudley.

Six other men from Birmingham and London were also sentenced. All had been found guilty after a trial.

The gang's crimes included a robbery at HSBC in Sutton Coldfield where property and cash to the value of £700,000 was stolen and a member of staff were left needing hospital treatment in July 2013.

The gang wore balaclavas and wielded crow bars when they committed the crimes, terrorising their victims and on occasions tying people up.

The 14 men were arrested on October, 9 2013 and bailed, pending further inquiries.

They were charged on May, 21 2014 with the exception of Robertson, who failed to answer his bail, and Hazel, who did not show up court, both went on the run.

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Hazel and Reid continued to carry out violent robberies at supermarkets across the West Midlands as police tried to track them down, including robberies at Co-ops in Rugeley, Alrewas, Lichfield and Penkridge.

The crime spree came to an end in June 2015 when five of the men committed a robbery at Morrisons on Upper Gungate in Tamworth.

Staff raised the alarm and police officers arrived as the robbery was taking place.

Hazel was caught whilst committing a burglary at Asda in Towyn, North Wales, on December 31, 2014.

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He was later identified through forensic evidence and CCTV in the store, before being located and arrested in the Preston area.

At a hearing yesterday, Robertson was jailed for 12 years and six months for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal.

Hazel was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to burgle.

Reid was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to steal.

Sentencing the men, Judge Mark Eades said: "This was a rampage of multiple offences over much of the Midlands where violence was used, weapons carried and people terrified.

"It was done on a number of occasions which in my experience is extraordinary."

Of the gang, Aaron Leathem, 24, from Gipsy Lane, Birmingham, was given the longest sentence, at 15 years and six months for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to steal and additional conspiracy to burgle.

Another man from Birmingham, Irfan Bonner, aged 28, of Faulkners Farm Drive, was jailed for 10 years and six months for conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to steal.

Det Supt Simon Duffy, from Staffordshire Police's major and organised crime department, oversaw the three-year investigation.

He said: "This has taken 14 offenders off our streets who between them stole a huge amount of money and property.

"I would like to thank all the victims who supported our investigation.

"Not only did they lose money or property, but some were subjected to horrific ordeals at the hands of these men.

"They were threatened verbally and physically.

"But thanks to the bravery of these victims in speaking out we are in this position today."

Connor Robertson, aged 25, of Wood End Lane, Lichfield was jailed for 12 years and six months for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal.

Mark Hazel, aged 35, of Leaside Avenue, Rugeley, was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to burgle.

Aaron Leathem, aged 24, of Gipsy Lane, Birmingham, was sentenced to 15 years and six months for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to steal and additional conspiracy to burgle.

Anthony Edwards, aged 28, of Cardwell Road, London, was sentenced to nine years for conspiracy to rob.

Khuram Razaq, aged 25, of Stoney Lane, Birmingham, was jailed at an earlier hearing for 12 years for conspiracy to rob.

Simon Walker, aged 34, of Turnberry Road, Birmingham, was jailed at an earlier hearing for nine years for conspiracy to rob.

Gary Abbots, aged 21, of Brookvale Park Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to six years for attempted robbery.

Ben Crofts, aged 24, of Brookvale Park Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to 12 years for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to burgle.

Chad Lee, aged 25, of Hartwell Road, Birmingham, was jailed at an earlier hearing for 27 months for conspiracy to burgle.

Irfan Bonner, aged 28, of Faulkners Farm Drive, Birmingham, was jailed for 10 years and six months for conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to steal.

Wayne Stokes, aged 31, of The Ridgeway, Birmingham, was sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy to rob and an additional robbery.

Tyrone Reid, aged 25, of Cromwell Street, Dudley, was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to steal.

Samsad Duha, aged 24, of Olton Boulevard West, Tyesley, was jailed for 27 months for conspiracy to burgle.

9 March 2013 – Burglary at an address on Kingstanding Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham

7 May 2013 – Robbery at Lakeside Superbowl, Nuneaton, Warwickshire

15 June 2013 – Burglary in Kings Norton, Birmingham, during which a White Audi S3 was taken

18 June 2013 – Robbery at Morrisons in Rugeley, Staffordshire

26 June 2013 – Robbery at the Co-Op, Common Lane, Fradley, Staffordshire

8 July 2013 – Robbery at HSBC on Lichfield Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, whereby property and cash to the total value of £700,000 was stolen. At this incident a member of staff required hospital treatment for injury to his ear.

The men were arrested on 9 October 2013 and bailed, pending further inquiries.

As a result of the investigation all were charged on 21 May 2014 with the exception of Connor Robertson, who failed to answer his bail and went on the run. Mark Hazel failed to attend his first court appearance and also went on the run.

Samsad Duha, Connor Robertson and Aaron Leathem were involved in a burglary at an address on Orchard Court, Rugeley, Staffordshire, overnight 11/12 January 2014 during which a high powered vehicle was stolen.

Whilst on bail Connor Robertson and Aaron Leathem continued to offend, carrying out crimes with a group which included Ben Crofts, Irfan Bonner, Wayne Stokes, Tyrone Reid and Gary Abbots.

They were responsible for the following offences, during which the threat of violence escalated:

22 January 2014 – Robbery at the Co-Op, Main Street, Alrewas, Staffordshire

31 March 2014 – Robbery at the Co-Op, Queensway, Rugeley, Staffordshire

20 April 2014 – Robbery at the Co-Op Service Station, Wolverhampton Rd, Penkridge, Staffordshire

2 May 2014 – Robbery at the Co-Op, Muckley Corner Service Station, Lichfield, Staffordshire

27 May 2014 - Theft of a motor vehicle from Pear Tree Crescent, Solihull

1 June 2014 – attempted robbery at the Toby Carvery in Shenstone, Staffordshire

4 June 2014 – Robbery at the Co-Op, Springfield Road, Rugeley, Staffordshire

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