Armed robbery spree ends in 10 years' jail
A 25-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for 10 years for carrying out a catalogue of terrifying armed robberies.
West Leigh Post Office was among the businesses targeted by robber William Baines.
He raided the post office three times, along with two pubs, takeaways, shops and a bookies.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Baines' crime spree had begun after his hopes of an army career were dashed when he was diagnosed with diabetes.
On one of the post office raids he was accompanied by Stefan Harper.
Mothers and children were in the post office at the time of the robbery and were left “traumatised”, the court heard.
Peter Barr, prosecuting, told how the first of the five robberies took place on November 15 last year at the McDonalds in Tyldesley.
Baines demanded the tills and safe were emptied.
As he fled with £2,000 cash, heshouted: “I’ll be back in for sausage and egg Mcmuffin tomorrow."
A month later, Baines struck wearing a hoodie and mask and carrying a hammer at West Leigh Post Office and stole £458 from the tills, and cigarettes.
At 11pm on Christmas Eve he and two other men, all masked, struck at Applewood Farm public house in Astley.
Baines had a knife and his accomplices had a machete and crowbar.
They shouted to the customers and staff that it was a robbery and herded them to a central area.
Baines forced a woman employee upstairs to open the safe.
The gang fled with £6,000 in a stolen Mitsubishi Shogun.
On January 27, Baines and another man arrived at the Whistling Wren pub in Leigh. Baines had a pair of tights over his head and carrying a claw hammer and a holdall.
Inside, he demanded to be taken to the upstairs office, where the takings were being counted, and the robbers escaped with £8,774 cash, said Mr Barr.
Baines struck again on June 14 at the West Leigh Post Office, this time with Harper. He vaulted over the counter and demanded staff open the tills and ran out with the proceeds which came to about £200.
His fingerprints were found by police at the scene.
Baines, of Elliott Street, Tyldesley, pleaded guilty to five robberies.
The court heard that just four days before the last offence he had been given a four-month suspended sentence for his first ever conviction of possessing a bladed article.
Harper, aged 23, of Cranworth Avenue, Tyldesley, pleaded guilty to the post office raid and was jailed for three years.
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