Published On: Sat, Nov 22nd, 2014 on 12:29 am

Armed gang jailed for terrifying Leeds pub and restaurant robberies

Leeds Armed Gang Jailed

Six men involved in a string of robberies in Leeds have been jailed for over 50 years.

The men were caught after police launched an operation to investigate robberies which had seen staff attacked and threatened by masked men armed with weapons including knives, hammers, machetes and a meat cleaver.

Thomas Silverwood, Michael Bennett, Darren Phelan, Jermaine Wilkes, Daniel Lyons and Liam O’Neil, struck six times in just one month.

The first robbery happened at The Bridge Inn in Horsforth where three masked men armed with knives threatened staff and customers before stealing more than £1,500 in cash and a handbag.

The gang later stole £2,000 from The Myrtle Tavern in Meanwood. A masked man armed with a knife confronted a woman demanding to know where the safe was.

Masked men armed with what was described as a meat tenderising hammer and a 24-inch machete burst in The Dalesman pub in West Park and threatened the landlady and two of her friends, holding a knife to one of their necks.

The landlady was thrown to the floor by her hair before being hit with the hammer when she tried to pull one of the robber’s masks off. The men stole £700.

The Angel public house in Rothwell was raided as a man held a 12-inch bladed knife to the manager’s throat while another member of the gang controlled his girlfriend. The robbers left with more than £12,000 in cash.

The robbers went on to terrorise staff at the Gusto Italian restaurant in Cookridge when four men armed with knives and a meat cleaver marched staff into the office to open the safe. They threatened to chop off the arm of one of the victims.

Detective Inspector John Dexter, of Leeds District CID, said: “These men were responsible for an absolutely terrifying series of robberies which took place over a short time span and left a large number of victims very badly traumatised.

“The victims were confronted by intimidating masked figures armed with a frightening array of weapons that they had deliberately chosen to put fear into them. On a number of occasions they didn’t hesitate to back up their threats with violence which was completely unnecessary.”

Darren Phelan, 37, of Carrholm Road, Meanwood, was jailed for 11 years and 10 months with an extended licence period taking his total sentence to 15 years.

Thomas Silverwood, 19, of Bowood Avenue, Meanwood, was sentenced to 12 years.

Michael Bennett, 39, of Reginald Mount, Chapeltown, was jailed for four years and three months.

Daniel Lyons, 21, of Sholebroke Street, Chapeltown, was sentenced to four years and nine months.

Jermaine Wilkes, 40, of no fixed address, was jailed for eight years as was Liam O’Neil, 21, of Sholebroke View, Chapeltown.

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