Published: 13:18, 01 March 2019
| Updated: 13:48, 01 March 2019
A cash-in-transit driver involved in a faked roadside robbery of almost £320,000 from his van has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Jimmy Doolly was "an inside man" providing detailed information for the plot to steal from his employers, Lion Security and Systems Limited.
He gave what a court heard was a "deliberately false" account to cover up the theft of the money he was meant to be delivering on August 28, 2017.
Doolly pretended that just after 7am on that Bank Holiday Monday, two men purporting to be police and driving a black Audi A3 fitted with a siren and blue lights made him pull over at the side of the A21 near Morley's roundabout in Sevenoaks, Kent, as he drove to a cash depot in nearby Tonbridge.
He described how he was forced into the rear of his unmarked Ford Transit, struck with a Taser and bound by his hands behind his back with cable ties.
He claimed his 'assailants' then made off with £319,408 in notes and coins contained in sealed bags.
Doolly, 35, said he then managed to free himself to alert police, who found the Audi less than an hour later engulfed in flames on a recreation ground at nearby Brasted.
It was alleged that he, together with William Williams, 44, and his partner, Janet Pryde, 59, all from Caterham in Surrey, conspired with others to steal cash between July 1 and August 29, 2017.
"You were in a position of a high degree of trust. You had been taken on and trained and were expected to be a loyal, reliable and honest employee..." Judge Jeremy Carey
They denied the offence but Doolly and Williams were found guilty on Thursday by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court after deliberations lasting more than 19 hours.
Williams, who works as a barber, drove another car to the scene to enable those who took the money to escape. He was also responsible for setting fire to the Audi.
The court heard police later found a padlocked rucksack containing in excess of £70,000 at his mother's home in Edenbridge, Kent.
He claimed to be simply looking after it for a close friend but his fingerprints were found on the internal packaging holding the money.
Ms Pryde was cleared of any involvement and sobbed as she left the courtroom. She was alleged to have acted as a getaway driver for her partner, Williams.
He was jailed for five years, with a further 12 months' consecutive for unrelated firearm and drug offences.
Passing sentence, Judge Jeremy Carey said Doolly, although not a 'planner', had played a vital role by agreeing to allow himself to be robbed for "financial kickback".
"You were in a position of a high degree of trust. You had been taken on and trained and were expected to be a loyal, reliable and honest employee, and you were dishonest in the most serious way any driver in your position could be.
"Moreover, you misled the police and everyone, as you had to to play out your role, into believing you were the victim. You were nothing of the sort."
Judge Carey told Williams he was involved "up to his eyes" and willing to play an active part.
"You knew full well, and for some time, not only what was going to happen but how important your role was. You spun this jury a web of lies that they have plainly seen through."
At the start of their trial, prosecutor Daniel Stevenson told the court that deliveries made on Mondays by the security firm based in Crawley, East Sussex, usually involved the greatest amount of money.
But their vehicles, although fitted with safes, tracking equipment and door locking mechanisms, were plain with no signage and the drivers did not wear uniforms so as to avoid 'in theory' being deliberately targeted.
Doolly had started work with the company on July 3 that year, and the faked robbery took place on what was only his second run from the depot near Gatwick Airport to the cash centre in Tonbridge.
However, the subsequent police investigation soon discovered the plot to steal the contents of the van and make a false report to cover up the crime.
"What happened on August 28 2017 was not a random occurrence but part of the arrangement..." prosecutor Daniel Stevenson
Despite his claims of being hit and restrained, the married father-of-one bore no physical injuries and declined to go to hospital as advised by paramedics at the scene.
The court heard the money was also 'too big' to be put in the van safe and Doolly had acted contrary to his training when he claimed he was made to pull over.
Mr Stevenson said: "What happened on August 28 2017 was not a random occurrence but part of the arrangement made between the conspirators for the theft of the money.
"Jimmy Doolly is central to these offences. He is the inside man. These offences must have required detailed knowledge of the vehicle to be used to transport the cash.
"Even if the offenders knew to target Lion Security as a cash-in-transit operation, how could they possibly know which van to target?
"Whoever stole the money must have known not only that the transit van contained an amount of cash that was worth the risk of undertaking such a theft, but also that they could easily access the cash without having to force open a safe.
"That information must have come from someone within the company. That person was Jimmy Doolly."
But Doolly maintained during his trial that he was a victim and had not, as the prosecution said, travelled in convoy with the 'robbers' from his workplace, along the M25 and onto the A21.
He did not know either Williams or Ms Pryde, and claimed any contact with another alleged co-conspirator, which was said to have 'peaked' immediately prior to the staged robbery, was simply to buy tobacco.
Lions Security and Systems, which operated a cash delivery service for KFC franchises and pubs in the south east, went into liquidation as a result of the money being stolen.
The court heard the firm had what Judge Carey described as a 'quite extraordinary and unfortunate' record for cash losses, including the theft of £750,000 from the vault by the managing director's son in 2011.