Man jailed over his role in Leeds gunpoint robberies

Keal Richards.
Keal Richards.

A man who helped a criminal gang carry out gunpoint robberies on taxi and pizza delivery drivers has been locked up for two years.

A court heard Keal Richards arranged for phone calls to be made to lure victims to the Chapeltown area of Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court heard the taxi driver was targeted after he was sent to Lincombe Drive on February 7 last year.

A masked man got into the vehicle and pressed an imitation firearm to the driver’s neck and ordered him to hand over cash. Richards, of Gledhow Towers, did not carry out the robbery but was ordered to look after the imitation Glock pistol, face masks and an amount of heroin worth £4,500.

The face mask and imitation firearm was used two days later during a robbery of a pizza delivery driver who had been called to Chandos Gardens.

On that occasion the victim had the weapon pointed to the middle of his forehead before being robbed of £15. Police executed a search warrant at Richards’s home on February 11 and found the imitation weapon, drugs and masks. Richards, 20, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.

Catherine Silverton, mitigating, said Richards had agreed to arrange the phone calls and store the items for the men after they threatened him with violence. He said the gang members, who he was too afraid to name, also made threats against his mother. Recorder Ben Nolan told Richards he would sentence him on the basis that he had acted under duress.

He said: “You were intimidated and pressured by much more sophisticated criminals than you are.”