A MAN involved with a cash-in-transit robbery at Asda, Colne, has been jailed for over 10 years.
Stephen Devalda provided a motorbike that two main robbers used to get to and from the crime scene.
Devalda was arrested and charged in 2007, but jumped bail and fled to Spain. He was arrested last March in Malaga following a joint operation between the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and Spanish police.
The 28-year-old of Stanton Avenue, Salford, had pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to rob and a bail offence. He was given a sentence of nine years and eight months for the robbery charge, plus seven months on top for the bail offence, making a total of 10 years and three months.
Judge Norman Wright, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said the robbery had been meticulously planned with six people probably involved. Devalda, he said, had been delegated with a vital task to perform, which showed he had the confidence and trust of the prime movers.
The armed robbery at the Corporation Street store dated back to May, 2005, where a security guard was attacked with a machete, after being knocked to the ground. A Royal Mail security van was making a collection there at the time.
Two men in crash helmets arrived on a motorbike. One had an imitation firearm and the other a machete.
The victim had a handgun pushed into his neck and a demand made for money. He was then hit over the helmet with such force he fell to the floor.
One of the robbers shouted “kill him” to his accomplice. He was ordered to tell a colleague to pass money out.
The man, petrified, curled up in a ball as the machete was used to rain blows to his head and upper arms. The ordeal left him with both physical and psychological injuries. He had three cuts to the upper arms.
A total of £25,000 in cash was stolen. The robbers made off on the motorbike and later switched to a get-away vehicle.
Devalda pleaded guilty on the basis he had been recruited by someone else. His role had been limited to providing the motorbike.
His barrister said he felt his surname meant a certain “mythology” surrounded his personality. He asserted he did not know an imitation firearm would be used in the robbery.
Judge Wright said the robbery had been carried out with almost military precision and meticulous planning.
Six people had probably been involved, apart from the two on the motorbike.
He told Devalda: “You had been delegated a vital task to perform. That, in my judgment, shows the confidence and trust placed in you by the prime mover or prime movers.
“You either knew or, at the very least, contemplated an imitation firearm would or might be used”.