Cash-in-transit robbers jailed for 9 years
PUBLISHED: 15:20 26 July 2011
One man still wanted for the robbery at a Tunbridge Wells post office after skipping bail
Two robbers have each been sentenced to nine years in jail for a raid on a cash-in-transit van in Tunbridge Wells.
Stephen Stone, 53, of Cranwell Road in Rusthall, and Grant Stone, 32, of Prusom Street in Wapping, were found guilty of robbery at Maidstone Crown Court.
Meanwhile, officers are hunting for another of the robbers, Ron Stone, 59, from Bow in London, who has skipped bail and was found guilty in his absence.
During a two week trial, the jury heard how the two men, who were masked, threatened and assaulted the driver of a Post Office van demanding he hand over the cash he was due to deliver to the Post Office in Summervale Road.
The incident took place in July 2010. The driver, who was not able to access the internal security cage of the van, endured a barrage of verbal abuse and violence from the robber, who took the cash he had been carrying, the court heard.
A witness started taking photographs of the robbers and in their hurry to escape released the post office worker and drove off. The stolen car used in the robbery, which they attempted to set alight in a bid to hide evidence, was later found on Tunbridge Wells Common.
In sentencing the pair after the trial ended on Friday (July 22), Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: “You have both pleaded not guilty and on overwhelming evidence been found guilty. It was a planned robbery with a degree of forethought and planning.
“There was a threat of a firearm although none was present and the delivery driver was vulnerable in going about his duty in serving money to retail outlets.”
Police set the net closed on the robbers within minute of the crime being committed. After finding the stolen getaway car, officers were called to a nearby location where one of the men was seen getting into another car. The car was traced to an address in Rusthall. There, officers found one of the offenders, who had cash taken in the raid on him. Police made two further arrests after another car, linked to one of the offenders, was stopped later that day and balaclavas and gloves used in the crime were found in the boot along with £200 in one pound coins.
Investigating Officer, DC Mark Ansdell of the west Kent tactical crime investigation department, said: “Three members of the same family were found guilty on overwhelming evidence of committing this robbery, which involved a high degree of violence against a delivery driver who was just trying to carry out his job.
“After what has been a long and complex case I am pleased that they have been brought to justice for their actions. We will continue to relentlessly pursue those who commit robberies and violent crime, to protect law abiding members of the public.”