Four men, who appeared today, Monday 21 February, at Harrow Crown Court, have been sentenced for five robbery offences, which spanned areas across London, Essex, and Hertfordshire. All of the men have previously pleaded guilty between December 2010 and January 2011 at Harrow Crown Court.
Paul Bryant, 26, of London, N17, was sentenced to an Indeterminate Public Protection Order (IPP), to serve a minimum of four and a half years imprisonment. On 14 January he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit four counts of robbery between 1 June and 8 September 2010.
Anthony Powell, 29, of London, N1, was sentenced to an Indeterminate Public Protection Order (IPP), to serve a minimum of four and a half years imprisonment. On 14 January he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit four counts of robbery between 1 June and 8 September 2010.
Alfie Atherton, 18, of London, E3 was sentenced to four years imprisonment on 2 February following a guilty plea made on 14 January 2011.
A fourth man, Paul Vincent Mursell, 42, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years imprisonment, having pleaded guilty on 3 December 2010 to conspiracy to commit robbery between the 1 June on 8 September 2010.
All four men were arrested as a result of a proactive, intelligence-led operation, by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Flying Squad.
Shortly before 10:00hrs on 8 September 2010, Mursell, Powell and Bryant – who were being observed by officers from the Finchley Flying Squad – pulled up in a vehicle next to a cash-in-transit van at Shell petrol station on Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.
The three men were seen to lay in wait, watching cash-in-transit security guard, Mark Elliott, 46, deposit cash boxes from his van to an ATM bunker.
Whilst Mr Elliott attempted to deposit a third box, Mursell and Powell left the car and ran to towards him armed with a knife – however they were unprepared for Mr Elliott’s training as a former British kickboxing champion. Following a struggle, Mr Elliott managed to throw the cash box in to the safety of the ATM bunker room and tackle Powell, restraining him on the ground. Officers immediately responded detaining Mursell and assisting Mr Elliott. Bryant was detained moments later in Wood Lane End as he attempted to drive off.
Mursell, Powell and Bryant were arrested and later charged with conspiracy to commit robbery on 9 December 2010.
Alfie Atherton was arrested on 19 November 2010 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery and charged later day
Mark Elliott said: “I have been working for Loomis for just over a year. I have trained since the age of 14 in various types of martial arts to black belt level, including, Boxing, Thai boxing, and Taekwondo, and I have won British titles in 1990 and 1991.
“I feel that my self defence knowledge kicked in immediately and it took over which helped prevent my attacker from succeeding.
“The man who attacked me came at me and after a brief struggle I was able to pin him to the ground and hold him. I shouted to a colleague to call the police. They arrived and handcuffed him and one other man. As I stood up the police noticed a knife on the floor next to the handcuffed man. I checked myself over for injuries and I noticed a slash in the front of my polo shirt. Fortunately my ID card was under my shirt and I believe this prevented me from receiving any serious injuries.”
Detective Inspector BJ Llewellyn, of the MPS Finchley Flying Squad, said: “The MPS Flying Squad is committed to detecting crimes and apprehending violent criminals to make businesses and communities feel safer.
“This excellent result demonstrates our continued determination and commitment in identifying and bringing to justice those criminals that are responsible for these types of offences.
“I would like to acknowledge the forward thinking and bravery of Mark Elliott who apprehended one of the suspects.”
On 2 February, Alfie Atherton was sentenced to four years imprisonment for robbery a separate smash-and-grab robbery on Ernest Jones, Kensington High Street, on 14 October 2010.
Breakdown of offences:
12 June 2010 – Armed robbery of Sunwin cash in transit delivery at Texaco, Caledonian Road, Islington, N1 – £20,000 stolen (Bryant)
24 June 2010 – Robbery of Loomis cash in transit delivery at McDonalds/retail park, London Road, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead – £20,000 stolen (Powell)
28 July 2010 – Robbery of a 68-year-old man in Buckhurst Hill, Essex – £45,000 stolen (Bryant & Powell)
5 August 2010 – Robbery of G4S cash in transit delivery a NatWest Bank, Muswell Hill Broadway, N10 – £25,000 stolen (Bryan, Powell & Atherton)
8 September 2010 – Attempted robbery of a Loomis cash in transit delivery, Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Nothing stolen.
Source: Metropolitan Police Service press release