Men jailed for south of England bank robberies

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Media captionLeon McKenzie, Clifford Griffiths, Caston Francis and Leroy Hall (left to right) were convicted of conspiracy to rob at Winchester Crown Court

Four men have been given jail sentences for their roles in robbing bank security guards across the south of England.

Caston Francis, 52, Leroy Hall, 37, Leon McKenzie, 33 and Clifford Griffiths, 37, were convicted of conspiracy to rob.

The robberies took place at banks in Gloucester, Berkshire, Somerset and Hampshire in 2011 and 2012.

A total of £100,000 cash was stolen and has not yet been recovered.

'Old habits'

Hall and McKenzie had been members of a gang who went to prison after attacking guards at exactly the same locations just five years earlier.

During the last of those attacks, at Chandlers Ford in September 2007, another two of the robbers were shot dead by police.

Winchester Crown Court heard when McKenzie was asked why he had targeted the same locations he told probation staff "old habits die hard".

Hall, described in court as "the general", of New Park Road, south London, was jailed for six and a half years.

McKenzie, of Fortrose Gardens, New Park Road, south London, was handed a six-year sentence.

Griffiths, of Bewsley Hill, Copplestone, Crediton, Devon, was sentenced to five and a half years.

Francis, of Neil Wates Crescent, Tulse Hill, south London, was sentenced to five years.

The court also imposed a special restriction on McKenzie and Hall to limit their access to mobile phones, computers and hire cars for five years after their prison sentences end.

After the sentencing, Det Supt Steve Black, of the South East regional organised crime unit, described the robbers as "ruthless in their assaults on the guards, putting them and bystanders in great fear".

"One elderly man who bravely intervened with his walking stick in the Bath incident was viciously pushed to the ground by one of the attackers, thankfully sustaining only minor head injuries," he added.

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