TWO men have been jailed following an armed bank robbery, during which a guard had a gun held to his head.

Justin Hulme, 27, of Norbury Street, Leigh, and Darren Hope, 33, of Maple Crescent, also Leigh, were both sentenced to 10 years in prison at Preston Crown Court on Friday after admitting armed robbery at an earlier hearing.

At around 9.45am on May 23 last year, two masked men wearing dark clothing, one armed with a gun and the other with a sledgehammer, threatened a security guard who was delivering cash inside Lloyds TSB branch on Hough Lane, Leyland.

During the raid, a gun was held to the head of the security guard and staff and customers were threatened.

The men stole cash then fled in a grey Ford Mondeo, later found abandoned on Rushwood Park, Standish.

Det Ch Insp Geoff Hurst said: “Today is the culmination of a lengthy police investigation stretching more than six months and I am pleased with the sentences handed down.

“This was a meticulously planned and executed robbery on a bank in the heart of Leyland town centre.

“The two men were organised and calculated. They had clearly researched their crime.

“I cannot imagine how terrified the staff and the customers must have felt.

“Everyone rallied round and showed these criminals what we can achieve when we stand together.”