A building society employee feared he would be shot when armed robbers ordered him to hand over a box containing £38k.
Northumbria Police were called to the Nationwide Building Society on Wallsend High Street shortly before 6pm on 10 January 2022.
Stephen Bayley, 39, and Lee Cook, 47, threatened the staff member outside the building society and brandished what appeared to be a handgun at him. Police investigations revealed the gun to be an imitation firearm.
The robbers told him to "drop it, drop it" so he handed them the box in fear he would be shot.
Bayley, of Morpeth Terrace, North Shields, and Cook of Wiltshire Gardens, Wallsend, used a Mercedes van as their get-away vehicle and made off with £38,000.
Cook was also charged with a second robbery which occurred at the same bank in November 2020, after an investigation led officers to notice similarities between the two cases as they reviewed evidence.
A jury found Bayley guilty of all charges in July 2022 and Cook pleaded guilty to all offences at a pre-trial.
On Wednesday 26 April, a judge at Newcastle Crown Court sentenced Cook to 15 years for two counts of robbery and one count of possession of an imitation firearm.
Bayley was sentenced to 12 years and nine months for one count of robbery and one count of possession of an imitation firearm. He was also sentenced the same day for breach of a restraining order.
Detective Sergeant Barry Smith said: “This was a serious incident that would have been terrifying for the victim and I hope this sentence brings them, and the wider community, some reassurance.
“I also hope this acts as a warning to those who believe it is acceptable to take what is not theirs and terrorise their neighbourhoods – we will do everything in our power to see that you are brought to justice.”
Praising the officers and detectives, he added: “The investigative team trawled through huge amounts of CCTV to try to trace the suspects and invested a lot of time and effort into the search for those involved.
"Not only were they able to identify the perpetrators of one robbery, but the meticulous review of evidence helped secure the resolution to a second crime – which is reflected in Cook’s lengthy sentence.
“This is an extremely rewarding outcome in return for a comprehensive investigation and I know such hefty punishments as given out in this case undoubtedly make thieves think twice.”
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