Violent Eastbourne armed robbers jailed for life

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Two armed robbers who targeted cash point security guards, including one with a sawn-off shotgun in Eastbourne, were jailed for life today (Friday, January 10).

Nicholas Wordsworth and Mustafa Murteza were given life sentences after pleading guilty to a series of violent robberies across London and the south east at Kingston Crown Court.

The pair’s first robbery was outside Natwest Bank in Brassey Avenue, Eastbourne, where they threatened a security guard with a saw-off shotgun and made off with cash box on February 24, 2016.

Detectives from Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, with assistance from colleagues from other police forces, linked together seven armed cash-in-transit robberies before arresting the pair in November.

Detective Inspector Mark Bedford from the Met’s Flying Squad said: “These sentences mean that two extremely violent and dangerous criminals are now behind bars for a considerable time.

“These were well-planned, violent armed robberies during which both Wordsworth and Murteza terrorised security guards, as well as members of the public going about their daily business, and left them fearing for their lives.

“In my view, it was only through luck and good fortune that nobody was seriously injured or worse.

“This has been a lengthy and complex investigation spanning the south-east of England.

“It was only through the meticulous work of officers from the Flying Squad supported by colleagues from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, TVP and Sussex police forces which ensured these individuals are no longer free to continue committing these violent offences.

“This operation reflects the Flying Squad’s commitment to ensure those criminals engaged in this type of violent commercial robbery are identified and brought to justice.”

As well as the Eastbourne robbery, Wordsworth and Murteza committed six other similar crimes across London, Essex, Kent, Sussex, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire during 2016.

In each incident, the suspects wore dark clothing, face coverings and used sawn-off shotguns or a knife to threaten security guards to steal cash boxes they were carrying outside banks.

The suspects would make off in a vehicle, which they then set alight.

Detectives identified Wordsworth and Merteza as suspects and further enquiries traced them to Bedfordshire.

With the support of armed officers, they stopped both men in a Honda Accord displaying false vehicle registration plates on November 18 in Sandy.

The pair were found in possession of a loaded sawn-off shotgun, a gas-powered revolver, several rounds of ammunition, a stun-gun, a bullet-proof vest, a large hunting knife, masks and a full petrol can.

Both Wordsworth and Murteza pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob; possession of a firearm (sawn-off shotgun) and ammunition with intent to endanger life; possession of an imitation firearm with intent (gas-powered revolver); and possession of a prohibited weapon (stun gun).

Wordsworth admitted carrying out the seven offences below, as well as planning to commit a further robbery in Sandy, Bedfordshire.

Murteza admitted his involvement in five of the seven offences below (excluding the robberies in Eastbourne and Margate) as well as planning to commit the robbery in Sandy.

Wordsworth, 43, of Fiona Court, Enfield, London, was ordered to serve a minimum term of seven years and nine months; and Murteza, 48, of Tollington Road, north London, was ordered to serve a minimum term of seven years and five months.

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