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Eight years jail for gun-gang member; Shots fired by robbers at supermarket.

Byline: By BEN GRIFFIN Crime Reporter ben_griffin@mrn.co.uk

A ROBBER who was part of a gang which terrified shoppers by firing shots during a raid on a busy Coventry supermarket has been jailed.

Aaron Collins was one of three men who targeted a cash delivery at Asda in Brade Drive, Walsgrave, at 11am on December 31.

The store was packed with shoppers stocking up after Christmas.

Collins, aged 26, who is of no fixed address but is from Chelmsley Wood in Solihull, was jailed for eight years for his part in the raid.

During the raid the thieves pistol-whipped a security guard and fired shots into the air outside the busy store. Collins took pounds 2,500 in coins from the back of the van and the trio fled in a car.

But shoppers had called police and when they arrived they spotted the getaway car - a blue Peugeot 206 stolen from Peugeot's Ryton plant.

As it sped off they followed it into Wigston Road, Woodway Park, before the thieves tried to hide it in a lock-up in Hazel Road, Bell Green.

Police chased the robbers on foot and DC Nick Watson caught Collins as he ran through a nature reserve.

Collins was arrested and a loaded gun, the cash and clothing were found. Forensic evidence proved some of the clothing that had been discarded had been worn by Collins.

The two other men escaped.

After Collins was sentenced, Det Sgt Chris Bates, of Stoney Stanton Road police robbery team, said: "This incident was particularly nasty and extremely frightening for those innocent people in Brade Drive."

And he praised the vigilant members of the public who had provided information so quickly so the robbers could be chased.

And he paid tribute to the officers involved in the chase who had shown great bravery."

At an earlier hearing Collins pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing a firearm but Birmingham Crown Court was told there was no evidence suggesting Collins had fired the gun.

Police are still looking for the other two men and ask anyone with information about them to call Det Sgt Bates on 0845 113 5000, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

CAPTION(S):

LOCKED UP: Aaron Collins, aged 26, from Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, was one of three men who carried out an armed raid on the Asda Suoerstore in Brade Drive, Walsgrave, on New Year's Eve and (inset) CCTV footage of the raid
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 16, 2005
Words:408
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