THREE men have been sent to prison following a series of supermarket robberies across the West Midlands region, including one in Kidderminster.
Amandeep Singh, 26, of Salisbury Road, Birchfield, Birmingham, pleaded guilty in October 2013 to conspiracy to rob Co-op stores.
He has been sentenced alongside his co-accused Ryan Landon Shaw, 20, from Sedgebourne Way, Northfield, Birmingham, who previously admitted nine offences of conspiracy to rob and Jani Joseph Wright, 25, of Conybere Street, Birmingham, who previously admitted 10 offences of conspiracy to rob.
At Stafford Crown Court today, Singh and Shaw were both jailed for four-and-a-half years and Wright to five years.
All three men were charged in connection with 15 robberies at Co-op stores across the Midlands during a 10-month period in 2012 - including on Wednesday, January 4 of that year, the Stourport Road shop in Kidderminster.
Shaw and Wright were arrested in Bridgnorth on October 31, 2012, Singh was arrested the following day, November 1, in Bartley Green, Birmingham.
During the incidents, Co-op stores were targeted shortly before closing time. Upon entry, offenders were aggressive towards staff, intimidating them and forcing them into back rooms. A member of staff was then forced to open up a safe and put the contents into a bag. The offenders would then leave the scene.
While no physical injuries were caused, many staff across the Midlands stores were left traumatised, some for many weeks after an offence had taken place.
DCI Paul Clews, senior investigating officer, said: "The sentencing, following a detailed investigation, is to be welcomed and sends out a strong message - the region's forces [including West Mercia Police] will work closely together to ensure those causing significant harm will be caught, charged and put before the court.
"These crimes were committed against hard-working members of our communities and left several of the victims traumatised. I hope the prison sentences in some way help to bring closure.
"I personally would like to thank the Co-op management team who have been excellent in their support of the investigation and this teamwork has culminated in the results we see today."