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Armed robber George Brockett guilty of possessing imitation firearm

A Loomis van was also spotted on the forecourt of the Esso in Strood

The Loomis van targeted at Strood's Esso - here in front of a stand-alone ATM

A robber faces being jailed with two other gang members after being convicted of a gun offence during an armed raid that netted £50,000 from a cash machine.

George Brockett, of Ivy Close, Gravesend, admitted conspiracy to commit robbery but denied possessing an imitation firearm.

He was convicted by a jury today and will be sentenced with Michael McCluskey, of Brinkburn Close, Abbey Wood, South East London, and Alfie Barker, of Mangold Way, Erith, on March 22.

McCluskey, 25, and Barker, 18, admitted the conspiracy and firearm offences.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Loomis security guards were confronted by the weapon as they loaded cash into an ATM at an Esso garage in Cuxton Road, Strood, on September 19 last year.

One of the guards told how an adrenalin rush made him ignore a warning from one of the raiders not to run.

Armed police at the scene of a raid on Esso in Strood

Armed police at the scene of the raid on Esso in Strood

Mark Brookman, who has worked for Loomis for more than 11 years, said he “scarpered” into the garage shop to call for help after he saw a man brandishing a shotgun appear through a gap in the fence at the rear of the forecourt.

He was told to stop running, but he added: “Adrenalin got the better of me. I also pressed my panic alarm which informs our control centre.”

Both Mr Brookman and his colleague, William Cook, described hearing a cracking noise as the first armed robber came through the fence just after 11.40am.

Mr Cook said in a statement: “I looked to see a man walking towards me with a sawn-off shotgun. The man had kicked through the fence making a gap big enough for him to get through.”

Mr Cook said the hooded raider shouted and warned him not to lock the safe.

“He carried on walking towards me, pointing the gun at me,” he said. “I started to back away. I noticed another man come through the hole in the fence and he was wearing the same kind of clothing.

“As I was walking backwards the man with the gun stood at the back of our van pointing the gun at me. The other man went to the back of the machine, knelt down and opened the door. I assumed he was taking the cassettes (of cash).

Police at the scene of a robbery at Esso in Strood

Dozens of police officers at the scene of the cash raid in Strood

“I carried on backing away from the males. Neither made any attempt to stop me. The second man then got up with both cassettes, one under each arm and they went through the gap in the fence.”

Jurors heard the stand-alone cash machine at Temple Farm service station was always replenished on a Wednesday. The garage was closed at the time for refurbishment and the forecourt was coned off.

A total of £53,000 in £10 and £20 notes was stolen.

Prosecutor Martin Yale said it was “entirely inconceivable” that Brockett, 25, would not be involved in the planning, including the use of the imitation firearm, in such a meticulously organised robbery.

It was not possible to state the weapon was a shotgun, he added, as it has never been found.

Investigating officer Det Con Wayne Totterdell, of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “I am pleased the court has found Brockett guilty today.

"He has tried to play down how big a part he played in the cash in transit robbery by denying he agreed to the use of an imitation firearm, despite evidence showing otherwise.

“This was a terrifying ordeal for the victims involved but I would like to take the opportunity to praise the efforts of those who gave evidence and the officers who worked tirelessly to bring these three robbers to justice.”


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