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Armed robbers jailed for raids in Corsham and Devizes
10:18am Tuesday 26th June 2012 in Wiltshire
A pair of armed robbers who held up a betting shop and bank at gunpoint have each been jailed for five years.
George Davies-Ball, of Westmead Lane, Chippenham, and Samuel Bryant, of Cornflower Way, Melksham, carefully planned the raids in Corsham and Devizes, texting each other beforehand.
During one of the hold ups a cashier, who was 20 weeks pregnant, was so terrified she shut herself in a back room and wouldn’t come out until her colleague unlocked the doors.
Rob Welling, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Friday that Bryant, 23, and Davies-Ball, 20, carried out the first raid at William Hill in Corsham.
Video footage from the shop’s CCTV system was shown in court as the men, wearing balaclavas, carried out the robbery at about 7.40pm on February 23, 2011.
Davies-Ball stormed up to the counter and pointed the handgun at the assistant manager and told him to fill a carrier bag with cash.
Meanwhile Bryant stood guard at the door to the Newlands Road branch of the bookmaker as the pair were in and out in less than 30 seconds, taking £1,060.
The pregnant worker is seen fleeing in terror the moment she sees the armed, masked man and her colleague was later sacked for leaving the safe door open.
Mr Welling said that while the gun was an air pistol, the victims had no reason to believe it was anything but “the genuine article”.
Two weeks later the men robbed the Cheltenham & Gloucester on the corner of Wine Street and St John’s Street, Devizes, in an audacious daytime raid.
Sporting fake moustaches and wearing baseball caps Bryant went to the counter at about 2.30pm on March 9, handed the cashier a note and showed her the gun.
The message read: “I have a gun” and “put all the money in the bag”. The terrified cashier handed over £2,300 before the pair fled.
Mr Welling said the victim of that raid also had to have time off work as a result of the shock.
The pair were arrested later that month after they were seen acting suspiciously in Corsham and officers recovered the gun.
Davies-Ball and Bryant pleaded guilty to two robberies and two firearm offences.
Jason Taylor, for Bryant, said his client had got into debt and shortly before the first incident bailiffs had visited the family home and threatened to take his parents’ property.
Martin Hawkes, for Davies-Ball, said his client was in the grip of a drug habit at the time and needed money for that.