Two robbers who held up G4S guards at Witham and Great Dunmow banks at gunpoint jailed for life

PUBLISHED: 17:57 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:16 10 February 2017

The scene of the armed robbery outside the Halifax branch in The Newlands shopping centre, Witham. Picture: Nigel Brown.

The scene of the armed robbery outside the Halifax branch in The Newlands shopping centre, Witham. Picture: Nigel Brown.

Archant

Two armed robbers who carried out a string of raids through the Home Counties – including Witham and Dunmow – which netted a total of £115,000 were both jailed for life today.

An armed robbery took place at HSBC in Dunmow on June 23, 2016An armed robbery took place at HSBC in Dunmow on June 23, 2016

Nicholas Wordsworth, 43, and Mustafa Murteza, 48, stole £25,000 each from HSBC in Great Dunmow on June 23 last year, and the Halifax at The Newlands, Witham on October 20, also last year.

Sentencing at Kingston Crown Court today, Judge Paul Dodgson ruled Wordsworth , of Fiona Court, Enfield, must serve at least eight years and Murteza, of Tollington Road, Holloway, at least seven years and eight months, before being considered for parole.

But the judge warned the pair they may never be set free again, saying: “It will be quite some time after these minimum terms before you can be paroled. It may be never.

“You both have extremely serious previous convictions and these seem to be using the same method of robbery. They were meticulously planned over a number of weeks, carried out with considerable force, and designed to terrify.

Video showing armed raid on Great Dunmow branch of HSBC.

“While armed with a sawn-off shotgun and an imitation revolver to frighten guardians of the money you were not intending to kill or seriously harm anyone, but serious injury if not death could have been caused.”

The court was told the pair targeted single crews working for security firm G4S over a nine-month period.

Wordsworth, involved in a seven robberies, and Murteza, who took part in five, used the same pattern for each robbery – buying getaway cars for between £500-£1,000 beforehand and burned them after raids. During the raids they pointed a sawn-off shotgun at guards and wore masks or balaclavas.

Nicholas Wordsworth, 43, of Fiona Court, Enfield. Photo: Met PoliceNicholas Wordsworth, 43, of Fiona Court, Enfield. Photo: Met Police

The pair were finally arrested by the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad in Sandy, Bedfordshire, as they planned yet another raid.

The judge said their observation of a Tesco superstore in Sandy which they were planning to rob took place over 19 days, involving a spy camera, and this gave an indication of their “meticulous planning.”

Both, who had previous convictions for armed robbery, admitted conspiracy to rob G4S security between February 19 and November 18 last year, possession of a shotgun with intent to endanger life and possessing sawn off shotgun. They also admitted having an unauthorised firearm – a revolver – with intent to commit robbery.

Murteza additionally admitted possessing a firearm while prohibited as a result of having been sentenced to a 15-year jail term. Wordsworth admitted a similar offence as a result of a six years six months’ jail term he had previously been given.

Mustafa Murteza, 48, of Tollington Road, Holloway. Photo: Met PoliceMustafa Murteza, 48, of Tollington Road, Holloway. Photo: Met Police

Wordsworth also admitted possessing a prohibited weapon – a stun gun.

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