SIX men have been jailed for a total of 44 years for conspiracy to commit an armed robbery in Morpeth.
On March 8 this year, a police surveillance operation led to the arrest of five men who had been planning to carry out a robbery at the home of businessman Alan Johnson, who lives in the town centre.
Subsequent searches led to an imitation handgun being recovered in one of the cars being used by the five men.
On Saturday, March 9, the five men, David Smith, 23, of Jarrow; Sam Ward, 21, of, South Shields; David Perrin, 35, of, Gateshead; Stephen Clements, 35, of Consett, and Terry McEwen, 41, of Wallsend, were all charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.
Further investigation led to officers arresting Paul Momat, 26, of, South Shields, on Wednesday, May 22.
He too was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.
The six men appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on September 2, and September 3, and Perrin, Smith, Clements, Ward and McEwen all pleaded guilty to both counts.
Momat pleaded not guilty and on September 12 a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, but the charge in respect of the firearm was not pursued by the crown prosecution service.
It emerged in court that he ran a car wash next to Mr Johnson’s Tip Top Tyres business in South Shields.
The men were sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday.
Perrin, previously jailed for kidnap, was sent to prison for ten years. Momat was locked up for eight years.
Smith and McEwen each got seven years and Ward and Clements were both jailed for six years.
DCI Steve Barron said: “We are pleased with the sentences handed to these dangerous individuals.
“They conspired together and planned to carry out what would have been a terrifying offence for the intended victim.
“Crimes involving firearms are rare in the Northumbria Police area with recorded levels far below other similar areas of the country.
“Northumbria Police will not tolerate any form of gun crime in the area and this operation is a prime example of how seriously we respond to such criminality.”