Two men have been jailed after carrying out a series of armed raids on banks in Birmingham.
Abdul Ghaffar (left), from Washwood Heath was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to three robberies and three offences of possessing an imitation firearm.
David Russell (right), from Alum Rock, was found guilty and sentenced to 11 years for his role in one robbery.
The crime spree took place between 19 May and 3 June this year across the Bordesley Green and Washwood Heath areas of the city.
The first robbery was at a busy Barclays branch on Washwood Heath Road when Ghaffar, aged 26, burst in wearing a balaclava. He threatened a cashier with an imitation handgun, and ordered her to hand over money, before escaping in a taxi.
The second took place at Lloyds Bank on Bordesley Green Road on 26 May. Again, a cashier was threatened with an imitation gun by Ghaffar who fled with cash and escaped in a Vauxhall Astra being driven by Russell, aged 42.
The final offence took place on 3 June. Ghaffar returned to Lloyds in Bordesley Green and forced staff and customers to lie down on the floor while threatening them with a gun. He stole cash from the till, as well as from a member of the public who had come into the bank to make a deposit. He then escaped in a Honda Civic.
Police carried out thorough mobile phone analysis and were quickly able to locate the two suspects.
On arrest, officers recovered balaclavas and gloves identical to those used in the raids, as well as a large amount of cash and the mobile phones used to organise the raids.
DC Richard Hibberd, from West Midlands Police, said: “The staff and customers caught up in these robberies genuinely feared for their lives. It was only once we arrested the suspects we knew the gun was an imitation weapon – those threatened by Ghaffar had no reason not to believe it was real.
“The evidence against both Ghaffar and Russell was clear and we are pleased with the length of the sentences, which mean they will be taken off the streets for a considerable amount of time.”
Source:: West Midlands Police News