Two armed robbers who targeted businesses in Northfleet and Hartley have been jailed for more than ten years.
Anthony Sweetman and Ben Medhurst were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday 8 June having pleaded guilty to committing robberies at a post office and a newsagent in 2017.
On 16 September 2017, Sweetman and Medhurst entered a newsagent in Dene Holm Road, Northfleet wearing Halloween masks and threatening the occupants with knives.
They demanded cash from staff members and took £200 from the till.
The robbery was caught on the shop’s CCTV.
On 19 September, 33-year-old Sweetman drove his black Mazda to Hartley with 41-year-old Medhurst as a passenger. Parking in Stack Lane they both entered the nearby post office in Ash Road wearing full face masks. One was brandishing a small hand gun and the other an axe.
Threatening to shoot the occupants, they demanded cash and a staff member handed over £894 that was in the till. They demanded more and when they were told there was no more money, Sweetman and Medhurst ran out.
This was also captured on CCTV at the premises.
Their car was later found abandoned in Gorsewood, Hartley.
Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate subsequently arrested Sweetman on suspicion of robbery on 21 September.
On 17 October, they executed a search warrant at Medhurst’s home address and he was also arrested.
The investigators were able to show that Sweetman had bought the Mazda through an internet site on 22 August.
Two police officers were able to state that they had seen him in the vehicle on two separate occasions, and on 16 September CCTV images from a Gravesend supermarket showed Sweetman and Medhurst in the car following an altercation with staff.
On the day of the robbery, CCTV footage showed the Mazda with two male occupants at a Northfleet petrol station and in Stack Lane, Hartley just prior to the robbery at the post office.
Subsequent forensic analysis identified Sweetman’s DNA in the later abandoned Mazda.
Sweetman and Medhurst were charged and later pleaded guilty to both robberies.
At Woolwich Crown Court, Sweetman of Waterdales, Northfleet was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months and Medhurst of Burch Road, Gravesend to 11 years.
Detective Inspector James Derham said: ‘This was a horrific ordeal for staff at both premises who should be able to go about their daily business without suffering at the hands of these criminals.
‘Sweetman and Medhurst showed no regard for the effect their actions would have on members of the public and should be ashamed of their actions.
‘I would like to thank the witnesses and victims who have assisted my officers throughout the investigation and have helped us bring these criminals to justice.’