CCTV Video: Armed gang members jailed for more than 25 years
MEMBERS of a Littleport traveller gang who carried out more than 30 armed robberies in the East of England were jailed on Friday for more than 25 years. James Curtis, 48, his crack-cocaine addicted son James Walter Curtis, 25, from Millfield, were given
MEMBERS of a Littleport traveller gang who carried out more than 30 armed robberies in the East of England were jailed on Friday for more than 25 years.
James Curtis, 48, his crack-cocaine addicted son James Walter Curtis, 25, from Millfield, were given indeterminate sentences at Norwich Crown Court.
Judge Alasdair Darroch ruled that James senior must serve at least five and a half years; James junior must serve at least five.
James Curtis' younger son Mark, 18, was given a five-year sentence for his part in the raids - which netted the family and their associates more than £100,000. He was just 17 when he joined his father and brother on one of the raids - and completed a reconnaissance mission to Cornwall, where the gang planned to extend their reign of terror, armed with baseball bats and at least one sawn off shotgun.
Their associate Stanley Rainford, 48, of Friar's Place, was jailed for a minimum of six years. Police raided his house in February, shortly after members of the gang were arrested close to Tilney St Lawrence, in the King's Lynn area.
Also sent down was Charles Lee, 43, from St Neots who was given an indeterminate sentence for his part in the raids and must serve at least six years.
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Among the targets for the planned attacks were a rural bowls club, a disabled pensioner in Welney, and an Oxfordshire post office.
After sentence, DCI Steve Strong said:
"I would describe these criminals as totally lawless, they believed they could do exactly what they pleased and because of the extreme violence they used, felt they would always get away with it. They showed total disregard for their victims, both during the crimes and making good their escape. The communities we police are far safer now those individuals are locked away."
"The operation was a major investment on behalf of the force in terms of staff hours and resources dedicated to investigating and catching those people responsible for such a large number of crimes. These incidents were terrifying ordeals for the victims involved, many of whom still struggle with the impact that these crimes have had upon their lives."
Andrew Baxter from the Crown Prosecution Service added:
"Organised armed robberies targeting people in their homes are rare. This gang was organised and planned its attacks. They were obviously aware of police investigative techniques and were careful not to leave forensic clues. They wore balaclavas. They used many different vehicles, some stolen.
"They committed offences over a large area including East Anglia, Thames Valley and the West Country. They spared no thought for their victims who were brutally treated in frightening attacks. Some have not recovered from their ordeals. It was essential that they were caught and I am delighted that the hard work put in by the police and CPS in this case has paid off."