Security guard guilty in £90,000 Co-op raid

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A BIRMINGHAM security guard who claimed he was forced to give robbers access to money stored in a cash machine after they put a gun to his face has been found guilty of conspiracy to rob.

Imran Akhtar, 30, of Reddings Lane, Hall Green, Birmingham, had denied being behind the robbery at the Co-op store in Crayford Road, Alvaston, Derby last November.

But he was found guilty at the end of the two-week trial alongside 18-year-old Nathan Clarke, of Stoney Lane, Birmingham, who was also found guilty of having an imitation firearm with intent to rob.

Another man, Adam Curran, of Dearman Road, Birmingham, had already admitted conspiracy to rob.

Jurors at Derby Crown Court heard from witnesses who described the moment two masked men carrying a handgun and machete staged the robbery outside the store on 21 November last year.

Akhtar, who was driving a van which was refilling cash machines at Co-op stores around Derby and Nottingham on the day of the robbery, told the court he was entering a code into the cash machine when he was approached by the robbers.

“I saw a robber standing next to me, basically with a gun pointing at my face”, he told the court.

“He asked me to keep back, to which I co-operated and put my hands up and moved back.

“The policy is ‘don’t be a hero’. Whatever the person wants you give them,” he added.

But police traced calls made from Akhtar’s mobile to one owned by Clarke before the robbery.

The prosecution told the court details of Akhtar’s route that day were discussed as the trio planned the robbery.

Akhtar denied he knew Clarke and claimed his phone had been cloned.

Judge William Everard said the men could expect “a substantial prison sentence”.

The trio are expected to be sentenced next month.

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