Serious criminal locked up for supplying stolen BMW getaway car to gang of armed robbers who caused terror during raid at Leeds post office
A criminal who supplied a BMW getaway car to professional armed robbers who caused terror during a £70,000 raid at Leeds post office has been jailed.
Aaron Tate was given a two-year sentence for helping robbers who discharged a blank firing pistol during the incident at Wellstone Rise Post Office, Swinnow.
A gang member also let off a coloured smoke bomb which added to the fear of those inside the premises on September 3 last year.
Nasser Khan was jailed for 12 years after a trial in October this year where he was found guilty of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Tate, of Squirrel Hall Drive, Dewsbury, also faced trial for robbery but the Crown Prosecution Service accepted his guilty plea to assisting an offender.
The 30-year-old's DNA and finger prints were found on the gear stick of the BMW after it was recovered by police in Bradford after the raid.
Mobile phone evidence also showed Tate and Khan had been in contact with each other around the time of the robbery.
The defendant said he received a phone call and recognised Khan's voice as he was asked to supply him with a car "to go to work."
Tate claimed he thought that the vehicle he supplied would be used to steal more cars.
He said he was then paid £400 to deliver the BMW to an unknown male.
Sentencing Tate, Judge Robin Mairs said: "You were clearly heavily involved in serious criminality and serious criminals.
"You stole the car and you knew it would be used for serious crime."
During Khan's trial, jurors heard how two men entered the post office, which is located within a general store, at 8.55am wearing face coverings while a getaway driver waited outside in the BMW.
Threats were made to the postmaster as demands were made for cash and the weapon was fired.
More than £70,000 in cash was handed over and the robbers fled. The robbery took just 40 seconds.
No one was injured but those inside the store were left badly shaken.
The postmaster was left covered in red powder from the smoke bomb.
The West Yorkshire Police helicopter was deployed in a bid to catch the robbers.
Police executed a search warrant at a house on Wansford Close, Bradford, and found a firearm loaded with blanks.
Khan's DNA was found on the weapon.
The jury found Khan, of Ewart Place, Bradford, guilty of both offences by unanimous verdicts.
The court heard the 38-year-old is thought to have become involved with organised criminal gangs around 2014.
In 2015 he was given a four-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit burglary.
While serving that sentence he was convicted of conspiracy to smuggle prohibited items into prison.
He was out of prison on licence at the time of the robbery.
Judge Mairs told Khan: "CCTV footage shows it was a swiftly executed professional robbery.
"Each man knew his role. An imitation firearm was discharged within the post office which I imagine would have terrified those in the general store at the time.
"This was a well executed, professional, commercial robbery carried out by professional robbers.
"It was designed to cause the maximum terror to those inside, meaning there would be the least resistance."
After the trial, Detective Sergeant Andy Greatorex, of Leeds District CID, said: “The victims and witnesses in this robbery were put through an absolutely terrifying ordeal when they were confronted by two masked men, with one brandishing a handgun.
“They threatened to shoot them and at the point that gun was fired they had no way of knowing it was an imitation and were in genuine fear for their lives.
“Detailed and comprehensive enquiries led to the recovery of the car and the blank-firing gun used, and saw Khan identified as a suspect.
“The incident has understandably had a lasting traumatic impact on those involved and we hope they can take some comfort from knowing that he has now been brought to justice.”