Gang convicted after Police thwart armed raid

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Gang convicted after Police thwart armed raid

Posted: 13/02/2007 10:13:41

Two Gloucester men are today beginning prison sentences for conspiracy to commit an armed robbery following a highly successful operation by Gloucestershire Constabulary.

Thanks to sophisticated police surveillance work, they were heard planning a raid and armed officers intercepted the intended attack on Matson Post Office in May last year.

Patrick Maguire, 35, and Paul Evans, 28, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit an armed robbery and conspiring to possess a firearm with intent at Bristol Crown Court this morning. Evans was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Maguire was given an indeterminate jail sentence in the interest of public safety. It means he will serve 10 years and only then be released when a parole board agrees this is appropriate.

A third man, Michael Taylor, 24 and also from Gloucester, had previously pleaded guilty to the same offence and will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.

The gang were caught out after a listening device was placed in Maguire's vehicle, which sported the number-plate N10KED, which looked like 'NICKED', thanks to an appropriately placed screw near the 0. This enabled police to overhear them planning the raid the night before it was due to take place.

"I think the number plate was designed to taunt the police and impress his friends but it now seems somewhat ironic given the sentence imposed", said Detective Inspector Neil Carpenter of the Major Crime Unit who led the operation. "The joke's on them."

"These people were involved in serious criminality. They were prepared to rob a busy post office in the middle of the day and had at least one loaded sawn-off shot-gun with them. The area was busy with people including small children and the consequences of their actions could have resulted in serious or fatal injuries.

"Fortunately, however, we were ahead of the game and were able to thwart their criminal activity through a sophisticated operation. We were watching the team as they planned the robbery and stole two vehicles to be used in the offence and we listened as they talked about escape routes and preparing firearms to use. As well as frustrating the robbery, we arrested one offender and recovered a weapon at the scene and secured enough evidence to then go and arrest the other offenders."

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Polin added: "This success demonstrates the Force's commitment and ability to tackle violent criminals at the highest level. The incident involved serious criminals but, as these convictions show, we have sophisticated tactics to deal with them and are able to take effective action not just against those who physically take part in such offences but against those who plan, organise and benefit from them."

Permalink: http://www.thesite.co.uk/viewnewsstory.asp?newsid=1416

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