October 23 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Three people were jailed today after their conspiracy to rob cash from transit vans was foiled by a police sting operation.
Tommy Aitken, 38, Romford, and Patrick Claydon, 49, of Brentwood, were sentenced to a total of 26 and a half years imprisonment for the conspiracy to rob transit vans and for the possession a firearm with the intent to commit an indictable offence and for possessing a prohibited weapon.
Officers from the Flying Squad made their arrests in November 2013 in a planned operation in Leigh-on-Sea.
A Post Office transit van pulled into Eastwood Road North to make a cash delivery. Claydon and Aitken lay in waiting in a car across the road.
As the van pulled up, Claydon - dressed in a balaclava and carrying a black holdall containing a loaded shotgun - got out of the car and approached the van.
Officers then swooped on the pair and arrested them both before searching the car to find a stun gun and a second balaclava.
The third, Sandra Clark, 45, of Leigh-on-Sea, who was parked a short distance away in Danescroft Drive, was also arrested.
All three were charged on the day of the operation that saw no shots fired.
Officers discovered another shotgun and ammunition after searching Claydon’s residence.
The Class A drugs were found in a search of Clarke’s address.
All three pleaded guilty to the charges at Snaresbrook Crown Court today.
Det Sgt Scott Chimes of the Met’s Flying Squad led the operation that was assisted by Essex Police.
He said: “Our investigation revealed that Claydon, Aitken and Clarke conspired and planned to rob cash in transit custodians in Essex over a period of months in 2013. However, they were caught in the act as they tried to put their plans into action - this was due to diligent and meticulous police work.
“This operation has also seen two potentially lethal firearms taken off the streets.”
Aitken, 38, of Braithwaite Avenue was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment the conspiracy to rob and for the possession of a firearm.
Claydon, 49, of Ongar Road, was sentenced to 14 and a half years for the same offences.
Sandra Clark, 45, who lives on the road of the incident, was sentenced to seven years for the conspiracy to rob and the possession of Class A drugs.