Kent shop raiders jailed after 15-month crime spree

CCTV Det Con Jon Saxby said facial recognition software helped officers identify Snape because he had been caught on CCTV partly removing his balaclava

Two men who threatened shop staff with baseball bats in raids across Kent and stole more than £36,000 during a 15-month crime spree have been jailed.

Duncan Snape, 41, from London, who was convicted of conspiracy to rob at a previous hearing, was jailed for 14 years at Maidstone Crown Court.

Robert Powsey, 42, from Chatham, who admitted the same charge, was sentenced to nine years and nine months.

Kent Police said they threatened and tied up staff and took cash from safes.

Snape, of Chapel Yard, and Powsey, of Peacock Rise, targeted nine convenience stores across Medway, Gravesend, Longfield, Aylesford and Ashford.

All the raids were at branches of McColl's.

'Party pack'
Duncan Snape and Robert Powsey The pair threatened staff with baseball bats, sledgehammers and pickaxes

The force said the two men carried out the raids between February 2012 and May 2013 in the early hours and used baseball bats, sledgehammers and pickaxes to threaten staff.

They used fake northern, southern and Irish accents and wore "matching outfits" of balaclavas and boiler suits or tracksuits, police said.

The smallest amount of cash the pair got away with was £1,600 and the largest haul was £7,498.

Police said they arrested the pair after a shop assistant recognised Snape's description when he walked into a store.

After sentencing, Det Con Jon Saxby said facial recognition software had helped officers identify Snape because he had been caught on CCTV partly removing his balaclava.

He said the pair referred to items used to disguise themselves as their "party pack".

Text messages between them revealed the extent of the planning involved in the raids, he added.

In one message, Snape texted Powsey: "Have you still got the fancy dress?"

Powsey replied: "Yep…..should be the last as biggest, party gear yes, in the garage…..plan it right we should be able to do another 3 or 4 parties before Easter??!!"

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