A violent gang of armed robbers has been jailed for a total of 54 years after a terrifying spree of raids, including one on a travel agency.
The gang struck five times at businesses across the West Midlands, one of which was the Co-op Travel in Wednesbury.
West Midlands Police described the gang as ‘masked thugs armed with hammers and knives’.
“They would threaten and use violence against staff before demanding money, making off with thousands of pounds across the series of raids,” the Police said.
The gang targeted an arcade in West Bromwich, a bingo hall in Erdington and gaming venue Cashino in Birmingham city centre in late 2022, then struck at the Co-op Travel in Union Street, Wednesbury on 22 April last year.
They told agency staff and customers to get on the floor before grabbing thousands of pounds and fleeing in a stolen Ford Focus. Their final spree was on 9 June, when they targeted a Cash Converters in Kingstanding.
The gang was arrested on 19 July last year after officers from West Midlands Police Operation Target pieced together their movements through witness evidence, CCTV, as well as the movements of mobile phones and cars.
Aaron Day, 36, of Charles Avenue, Rowley Regis; Liam Bell, 28, of Monmouth Drive, West Bromwich; Jordell Duquesney, 26, of Spies Lane, Halesowen, and Richard Gray, 42, of Holliday Street, Birmingham, all admitted conspiracy to rob.
West Midlands Police has shared footage from the gang’s raids, including the one on the Co-op Travel. Travel Gossip is showing the video with permission from the branch manager.
Yesterday at Birmingham Crown Court, Day, Duquesney and Bell were each jailed for 14 years. Gray was jailed for 12 years and nine months.
DC John Marsh, from West Midlands Police Major Crime Proactive Unit, said: “This was an appalling series of robberies, with violence used and threatened against people going about their business.
“The CCTV shows how weapons were brandished and people were held hostage and marched around and as the gang stole from businesses around the region.
“It’s had a lasting impact on these victims, who were left terrified but thankfully not seriously injured.
“This was a major investigation incorporating a whole host of techniques, which has resulted in these dangerous men being behind bars today.”
A Midcounties Co-operative spokesperson said: “We work closely with the West Midlands Police and would like to thank them for their work in securing these convictions. We will never tolerate violence perpetrated against our colleagues in their workplace, have invested heavily in preventative measures to keep our colleagues, members and customers safe and will always take every measure we can to bring those who commit criminal acts to justice.”
Pictured above, from left: Richard Gray, Aaron Day, Jordell Duquesney and Liam Bell.