Two men have been sentenced for robbery and false imprisonment following an incident which saw an imitation handgun discharged on a residential street in Carlisle.
The case is believed to be the first in the country where offenders have forced their victims to create cryptocurrency accounts in order to steal money from them and evade identification.
The men sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today, September 12, were:
- Jordan Barrett, 23, of Red Bank Square, Carlisle. Barrett was jailed for six years and nine months for two counts of robbery and two counts of false imprisonment.
- Ted Richards, 24, of Empire Square, Southwark, London, was jailed for six years for two counts of robbery and two counts of false imprisonment.
The sentencing follows a dedicated operation which investigated an incident which occurred in the Belle Vue area of the city in February 2020.
Detective Superintendent Jenny Beattie, who led the investigation, said: “This was an incredibly serious incident and one which was a terrifying ordeal for the victims in this case.I’d like to commend the victims for the bravery they have shown throughout our enquiries.
“This has been a complex case which has taken a significant amount of time and effort to conduct, however the support both victims have provided our investigation has enabled us to bring dangerous offenders to justice.
“Importantly our investigation has resulted in an imitation firearm being taken off the streets and away from criminal activity. Whilst this may be an imitation firearm, when used in such a way to threaten individuals it would likely lead to a member of the public to believe the threat was very real.
“We are pleased that both men have been put before the courts for their actions. The determination shown by the investigation team has been unwavering in carrying out the enquires which has led to a successful conviction.
“The team’s efforts are particularly impressive given the circumstances of how the criminals forced the victims to create cryptocurrency accounts, so they could attempt to evade identification, is believed to be a first to be put before a court in this country.
“I hope the successful conviction of these men sends a clear message to any potential offenders. Individuals who would consider using firearms or carry out threatening behaviour will be subject of robust investigation.
“As shown in this case, our officers will do everything they can to bring criminals to justice.”
On February 10 2020, Barrett and Richards stormed an address on Moorhouse Road carrying weapons, and wearing a mask and motorcycle helmet.
The men held occupants at gun and knife point, before forcing them to create cryptocurrency accounts to move money into. Barrett and Richards left the address with an Xbox and an iPhone.
They also threatened the occupants that there would be consequences if they attempted to contact the police before discharging the imitation handgun in the street as a warning.
Police were alerted to the incident after the victims fled the scene and alerted neighbours.
A complex and lengthy investigation was launched by detectives and financial investigators. Lengthy and thorough enquiries were carried out to identify the suspects, Barrett and Richards.
When officers searched Barrett’s home, they uncovered an imitation handgun with silencer, laser and torch attachments – matching the description provided by the two victims in this case.
Also found at Barrett’s address was a bullet press and ammunition.