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Two men jailed for armed bank raid have sentences cut

Stewart Last and Richard Loveridge were jailed after being convicted of more than 40 crimes including an armed bank raid in Farnborough but this week had their sentences cut by appeal court judges

Santander in Eastmead, Farnborough, after an armed raid

Two men jailed for their parts in £600,000 robbery and burglary plots, including an armed bank raid in Farnborough, have had their jail terms cut.

Stewart Ashley Last and Richard Barry Loveridge were responsible for more than 40 offences across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Hampshire, and Surrey - over a period of six months, between 2011 and 2012 - stealing valuable cars and robbing security guards delivering cash.

They stole a total of £240,000 cash from a number of banks and building societies, robbed a number of shops in Basingstoke and Reading, taking £70,000 in cash and stock and £41,000 worth of alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco.

On January 9 2012, the two men, aged 30 and 28 respectively, broke into Santander in Eastmead, Farnborough, before attacking a G4S security guard with a sledgehammer and making off with £85,000.

They were found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary and were each given a 17-year prison sentence in November last year at Winchester Crown Court.

However, the men had their jail terms cut by top judges on appeal on Tuesday (June 10), at London's Criminal Appeal Court.

Last's sentence was cut to 15 years, and Loveridge's to 14 years, by Lord Justice Elias, Mr Justice Burnett and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC.

The court heard how police began hunting the gang after a Nationwide building society was robbed in Havant in November 2011, followed by banks in Fareham and Farnborough.

Around £250,000 worth of valuable cars were also stolen in a spate of burglaries, many of which were used in the robberies.

Lawyers for the pair argued that they had been handed overly tough sentences, given that they had not carried firearms or knives during the robberies, or indeed any weapons beyond the "tools" needed to access the cash they were targeting.

Mr Justice Burnett said: "These were very serious offences and demanded a stiff sentence. Nevertheless, 17 years overall was too high.

"There are more serious robberies than these, and we especially note the lack of actual violence, apart from in relation to one incident."

A third defendant in the case, Andrew Smith, 28, of Montrose Avenue, Slough, was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 11 years.

During the gang's trial, the court heard they had been challenged by an Eversley parish councillor just hours before they carried out the Santander robbery in Farnborough, as he thought they were fly-tipping.

 

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