An armed robber who threatened terrified security guards with a gun during an ambush near Ashford 11 years ago has today been jailed for 15 years.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how Terence Pooke, 48, was one of four men who lay in wait for a Securicor van to arrive in Wye High Street on 28 March 2001. When it did, Pooke pushed his way into the van, armed with a gun, taking the security guards by surprise.
The victims, still in their van, were then driven to a remote location where one was dragged out and made to lie face down on the ground. His colleague inside the van was told the man would be shot unless he complied with the robber’s demands. He was then also dragged from the van and threatened.
The robbers eventually made off with around £10,000 after failing to open all the safes inside the van. The guards were left shaken but not seriously injured.
The robbery was the latest in a series of armed incidents which had been committed in Kent and Sussex in the preceding months.
Following the incident, police arrested three people. One later pleaded guilty, one was found guilty and the third was acquitted.
Pooke, the fourth and final member of the group, remained unidentified for 10 years until he was charged in August last year with offences in connection with the incident as part of an ongoing investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
Pooke, of no fixed address, denied robbery of a Securicor cash-in-transit van to the value of £10,328.53 and possession of a handgun with intent to cause unlawful violence.
He was found guilty by a jury on both counts.
Det Serg Rob Haines said: "At that time, on that day, the two security guards were in fear of their lives. They had been confronted by four robbers, one of which was armed with a gun, and threatened.
"They were simply going about their daily routine, doing their job when they were faced with the most terrifying experience – one that still haunts them now.
‘We remained determined to bring the final outstanding offender to justice for his crime and today he has been jailed for 15 years – a sentence which reflects the severity of what he did more than a decade ago."