Jail for crime gang who dressed up in police uniforms before robbing and torturing people
A GANG of thugs who posed as police officers and robbed and tortured their victims has been jailed for a total of 46 years.
The gang carried out a string of robberies throughout Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Lancashire between March and May last year, a court heard.
On two occasions they kidnapped and tortured their victims, forcing them to phone friends in a bid to get cash.
Sentencing Richard Clancy, Matthew Cheston, Connor MacPhee and Mark Worthington-Breen, Judge Michael Leeming said their crimes had been “highly organised, violent and lucrative”.
Cheston, aged 31, of Barchester Avenue, Breightmet, and Clancy, aged 26, of Crescent Drive, Little Hulton, both dressed up in police uniforms, complete with stab vests, walkie talkies, handcuffs and fake warrant cards before approaching the homes of their victims and before robbing a jewellery shop in Preston.
Both claimed they had been forced into committing the crimes because cannabis they had been looking after for drug dealers had been stolen.
On April 10 last year Cheston and another man, both dressed as police officers, kidnapped Graham Turner from his Cadishead home claiming they were arresting him over customs and excise offences.
Mr Turner had his hands tied with cables and was driven to a flat in Claremont Drive, Little Hulton, where he was attacked by a group of men, choked until he lost consciousness several times, had his head hooded with a pillowcase and was threatened with being stabbed in the eyes.
Several hours later, after they had robbed him of two valuable watches and £7,500, the gang let him go, giving him £20 to get home.
The flat was set on fire in a failed bid to destroy evidence.
Then, on May 8, two men, one of whom was Clancy, called at the Atherton home of Mark Brooks dressed as police officers.
Mr Brooks’ partner and two children were also at home when he was taken away by the pair, along with the property’s CCTV system, £1,500, a hunting knife and two ball-bearing guns.
The victim was taken to MacPhee’s address in Riverside Drive, Stoneclough, tortured, assaulted with a sawn off shotgun and threatened with being castrated unless he handed over £100,000.
Other offences included two robberies of people in their own homes by fake police officers and a burglary at a house in Halifax.
Sentencing them at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Judge Leeming said he accepted none of them had been involved in inflicting violence.
Clancy was jailed for 13 years, six months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to kidnap, burglary with intent and burglary. Cheston was told he will spend 12 years behind bars after admitting the same offences.
MacPhee, aged 20, of Halton Bank, Salford, admitted conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to kidnap and two offences of possessing a prohibited firearm and got nine years while Worthington-Breen, aged 22, of Eastham Way, Little Hulton, was jailed for 11 years six months for conspiracy to rob and kidnap and conspiracy to commit arson endangering life.