A gang of armed robbers have been locked up for a total of 23 years for attacks on security guards delivering cash boxes to shops.
One guard was left traumatised after being a victim on two separate occasions in the same month in raids in south Leeds.
The gang were left virtually empty-handed despite escapingwith around £25,000 from the raids after notes were sprayed with red security dye.
Leeds Crown Court heard all the gang members were closely linked, were all friends with each other on Facebook and came from the same area of the city.
Heather Gillmore, prosecuting, said the raiders used a stolen motorbike in the first offence at the B&M store at Middleton District Shopping Centre on March 13.
The security guard was threatened with a knife as he emerged from the store with a cash box containing £15,000.
Witnesses described how red smoke came from the cash box as two men escaped with it on the motorbike. The second robbery was at the McDonald’s restaurant on Elland Road on March 29. The court heard the same security officer was targeted for a second time as he came out with a box containing £10,000.
He was threatened with a knife before three men took the box and got into a stolen car.
Red dye covered the notes and witnesses described how the robbers appeared to be suffering the effects of smoke from the box and were gasping for breath.
They were seen moments later in Hunslet running along a path clutching thousands of pounds of contaminated notes. Two of the men, Teejay Walton and Nathan Sharpe, were covered in dye. They knocked on the door of a friend’s house and asked if they could get a wash, claiming they had been paint balling.
A third offence involved a failed attempt to get cash from security guards at the Co-op, Cardigan Road, Headingley.
The court heard the vehicles used in the offences were stolen shortly before the incidents.
The motorbike was taken from a garden of a property in Beeston two days before the raid at the B&M store.
A Ford Mondeo was stolen to commit the offence at McDonald’s and it was fitted with a pair of number plates stolen from a similar vehicle.
Walton’s barrister, Matthew Harding, told the court: “Had it not been for the seriousness of these offences, it would have been comical.”
He added: “The execution was rankly amateurish.”
Walton, 20, of Barton Grove, Beeston, pleaded guilty to robbery, burglary, handling stolen goods and vehicle taking.
Walton also asked for 46 other offences of burglary to be taken into consideration. He was jailed for seven years.
Nathan Sharpe, 18, of Moorfield Grove, Bramley, pleaded guilty to robbery, attempted robbery and two offences of vehicle taking. He was sent to a young offenders’ institution for six years.
Anthony Quinn, 21, of Burlington Road, Beeston, pleaded guilty to robbery. He was jailed for five years. Ashley Cookson, 28, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery.
He was jailed for five years.
Jordan Frazer, 20, of Fourth Avenue, Rothwell, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
He was given a 12-month community order.