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Armed robbers jailed for raids in Northfleet and Hartley

By Chris Hunter

Two armed robbers who targeted businesses in Northfleet and Hartley - threatening staff with knives, a hand gun and an axe - have been jailed for more than ten years.

Anthony Sweetman and Ben Medhurst were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday June 8 having pleaded guilty to committing robberies at a post office and a newsagent in 2017.

The court heard how Sweetman and Medhurst were caught on CCTV as they entered a newsagent in Dene Holm Road, Northfleet, on September 16 last year, wearing Halloween masks and threatening the occupants with knives.

Armed robbers Ben Medhurst (left) and Anthony Sweetman have been jailed (2461054)
Armed robbers Ben Medhurst (left) and Anthony Sweetman have been jailed (2461054)

They then demanded cash from staff members and took £200 from the till.

Three days later on September 19, 33-year-old Sweetman drove his black Mazda to Hartley with 41-year-old Medhurst as a passenger. Parking in Stack Lane they both entered the nearby post office in Ash Road wearing full face masks; one brandishing a small hand gun and the other an axe.

Threatening to shoot the occupants, they demanded cash and a staff member handed over £894 from the till. They demanded more and when they were told there was no more money, Sweetman and Medhurst ran out.

This was also captured on CCTV at the premises, and their car was later found abandoned in Gorsewood, Hartley.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate subsequently arrested Sweetman on suspicion of robbery on September 21, and on October 17 executed a search warrant at the home of Medhurst who was also arrested.

Investigators were also able to show that Sweetman had bought the Mazda through an internet site on August 22.

Two police officers were able to state they had seen him in the vehicle on two separate occasions, and CCTV images captured by a Gravesend supermarket on September 16 showed Sweetman and Medhurst in the car following an altercation with staff.

On the day of the robbery, CCTV footage showed the Mazda with two male occupants at a Northfleet petrol station and in Stack Lane, Hartley just prior to the robbery at the post office.

Subsequent forensic analysis identified Sweetman’s DNA in the later abandoned Mazda.

Sweetman and Medhurst were charged and later pleaded guilty to both robberies.

Sweetman of Waterdales, Northfleet was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months and Medhurst, of Burch Road, Gravesend to 11 years.

Detective Inspector James Derham said: "This was a horrific ordeal for staff at both premises who should be able to go about their daily business without suffering at the hands of these criminals.

"Sweetman and Medhurst showed no regard for the effect their actions would have on members of the public and should be ashamed of their actions.

"I would like to thank the witnesses and victims who have assisted my officers throughout the investigation and have helped us bring these criminals to justice."

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