THE men behind two terrifying shotgun raids, one of which took place in a Burnley shop, have been locked up for a total of 10 years eight months.
Mohammed Usman Khan (22), of Kent Street, Burnley, and Gulhassan Khan (23), of Burnley Road, Colne, were both involved in an armed robbery conspiracy at Tote Sport bookmakers in Bury, and later at the Spar shop in Melville Street, Burnley, on September 1st 2009.
Usman Khan was jailed for eight years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery following a four-day trial, while Gulhassan Khan was given a 32-month custodial sentence after pleading guilty at an early stage.
A further two Burnley men, Wajid Khan (19), of Kent Street, and Mohammed Siddique Ghafaar (18), of Merton Street, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing. They were given a 52-week sentence, which was suspended for two years, and 200 hours community service.
In the first robbery a total of £123 was taken at around 11-30am, while in the second robbery almost £500 was stolen.
In both instances, staff members were threatened with a shotgun, which Usman Khan claimed to be real and Gulhassan Khan insisted was a toy. The court heard how Gulhassan Khan had ambitions of becoming a hairdresser in early 2009, while Usman Khan had been studying at Burnley College, and was aiming to get qualifications in business studies, English and maths.
Mr James Bourne-Arton (defending Gulhassan Khan) told how the second raid was “unfortunately due to the lack of successes in the first one”, and went on to say how they were “relatively unsophisticated”.
He said: “The threat was sufficient to carry out the offence. This has ruined his life.”
Mr David Pojur (defending Usman Khan) said: “He is in a graver position than his co-defendant. He has ruined his life.” Passing sentence, Judge Beverly Lunt, who described the offences as a “truly terrifying” ordeal for workers at the bookmakers and Spar, said: “Gulhassan Khan and Usman Khan, I am sentencing both of you for two offences of conspiracy to commit robbery.
“The evidence is quite clear that you both decided to rob the bookmakers to get money for debts you owed to people who were selling drugs.
“Fortunately no-one was hurt, but it was very distressing.”
And speaking after the sentencing, DC Ifte Ali from Burnley CID said: “This was clearly a very frightening ordeal and a serious offence, which was aggravated by the use of a dangerous weapon.
“Offences such as this will not be tolerated and we will continue to do everything we can to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”