Judge jails gang that hit 'soft' targets

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FOUR members of a gang which terrorised staff and customers in armed raids on post offices and building societies were yesterday jailed for a total of 51 years.

The gang stole more than 100,000 in nine robberies and a series of burglaries in Bristol over a 19-month period.

Judge Colin Willis, sitting at Bristol Crown Court, sentenced Simon Jackson, 26, Michael Arthur, 28, and Stephen Green, 27, to 13 years each.

Albert Sullivan, 30 - the only gang member with no criminal record - was jailed for 12 years.

All had admitted conspiring to commit robberies and having firearms with criminal intent between August 1991 and November 1992.

The judge said the crimes required deterrent sentences, particularly as they involved raids on 'soft target' building societies and post offices.

No one was hurt in the raids although one shot was fired into the ceiling during a bank robbery and the judge They were caught after police bugged the flat where Jackson and Arthur lived, in Royal York Villas, Clifton, Bristol, and listened in on the gang's raid plans. They were arrested within minutes of their final robbery on the Bristol and West building society in Clifton in November 1992.