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THREE IN PRISON FOR STUN GUN HOLD-UPS.

Byline: Mark Cowan

THREE armed thugs who broke into a house and forced the occupant to hand over the keys to his car after threatening him with a stun gun have been jailed for a total of 41 years.

The trio struck twice in less than an hour - but they were collared when police managed to track down one of the stolen vehicles and lay in wait for the theives to return.

When the officers sprang their trap the men were wearing bullet proof vests and had a sawnoff shotgun.

Larry Barnett and Ashley Atkins, both aged 25, from Erdington, and 19-years-old Luke Dawes, also from Erdington, were jailed at Wolverhjampton Crown Court.

They were all convicted of possession of a shotgun, conspiracy to commit armed robberies, possession of a prohibited taser stun gun, possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm with the intention of causing fear or alarm. Atkins and Barnett were sentenced to 15 years and five years, to run concurrently, for possession of a firearm. Dawes was sentenced to 11 years and five years, to run concurrently, for possession of a firearm. West Midlands Police said the three men first struck on February 21, when they broke into a house in College Road, Sutton Coldfield, threatened the occupant with a taser stun gun and made off with the car.

Half an hour later they committed a similar robbery at an address in Doe Bank Lane, Pheasey, this time stealing a BMW.

The following morning, officers found one of the cars in Kingstanding Road.

When the offenders returned in a taxi at about lunchtime, armed police pounced to stop them.

Dawes was immediately arrested in the vehicle while the other two fled.

Barnett was arrested after a foot chase with bobbies. Atkins was arrested after being identified and having DNA linked to him.

Acting Det Insp Steve Walters, who investigated, said: "The three were clearly about to commit a crime of some description, but some really fast detective work allowed us not only to stop them but arrest them and bring them to justice.

"This means there is one less firearm on the streets, and hopefully these substantial sentences will ensure that they are unable to threaten anybody in the West Midlands for some time."

CAPTION(S):

Jailed: Luke Dawes. Jailed: Larry Barnett. Jailed: Ashley Atkins.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 3, 2011
Words:390
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