Raiders jailed for 70 years

VICIOUS raiders responsible for a wave of shocking and violent attacks on shops and post offices in East Anglia will spend more than 70 years behind bars between them.

VICIOUS raiders responsible for a wave of shocking and violent attacks on shops and post offices in East Anglia will spend more than 70 years behind bars between them.

A gang of travellers carried out 60 robberies across Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire in areas they believed were lightly policed.

For a time their reign of terror seemed unstoppable as police forces from across the region joined up to catch the robbers.

Sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday and yesterday, Judge David Goodin said there had been numerous victims of the gang's greed, who were still haunted by the violence and threats they used.

He handed Suffolk-based gang leader Barry Street, 22, of Beck Row, a total of 14 years in jail and fellow robber Thomas Curtis, 24, of Wisbech, received 12 years.

John Curtis, 26, and John Smith, 24, both of Wisbech, were handed sentences totalling 11 years each. Stacey Smith, 21, also of Wisbech, was given 10 years.

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Rocky Buckley, 20, of Willingham, Cambridgeshire, who had denied conspiring to commit armed robbery but was found guilty after a trial in September, was jailed for a total of 16 years. Buckley had admitted taking part in burglaries and ram raids.

His co-defendants admitted offences including conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles between June 2004 and May 2005. They were handed sentences for each offence to run concurrently.

The youngest member, 19-year-old Rocky Curtis, of March, 200 hours of community service work.

In a stinging indictment of the Curtis family, members of which were sitting in the public gallery, Judge Goodin said the youngster had been “raised as a thief” but expressed his hope that he had learnt his lesson.

The robbers are estimated to have stolen £500,000 and caused a further £500,000 in damage. Only £9,000 was seized when the gang was arrested - the rest had been spent on the criminals' fast lifestyles, the court heard.

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