Robbers get 45 years for Leigh Park and Fareham Nationwide raids

JAILED Richard Loveridge, Andrew Smith and Stewart Last
JAILED Richard Loveridge, Andrew Smith and Stewart Last
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A ‘RUTHLESS and callous’ gang convicted of a string of armed robberies have been jailed for a total of 45 years.

Andrew Smith, 27, Richard Loveridge, 28, and Stewart Last, 29, stole £240,000 in robberies at Nationwide in Leigh Park, Nationwide in Fareham and a Santander branch in Farnborough.

RAID The Nationwide Building society in West Street, Fareham was attacked by robbers

RAID The Nationwide Building society in West Street, Fareham was attacked by robbers

Security staff from G4S delivering cash to the premises were threatened with a sledgehammer in each robbery.

CCTV footage showed to the jury of the raids on both Fareham Nationwide Building Society in progress and the criminals breaking into the Leigh Park branch of the building society, helped convict the gang.

The robbers used disc cutters to slice through the bars on cash machines and steal boxes of money.

The men had denied committing crimes in which goods worth £550,000 were stolen.

Now Loveridge, Smith and Last are behind bars after a jury found them guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery following a five-week trial.

Loveridge and Last were also convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary.

Detectives say the pair are responsible for more than 40 robberies and burglaries across Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.

Smith was cleared of the burglary charge.

A fourth man, Lee Fitzgerald, 38, of Perrycroft, Windsor, was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Loveridge, Smith and Last stole £50,000 in the Leigh Park armed robbery on November 25, 2011, £105,000 in the Fareham robbery on December 13 2011 and £85,000 in the robbery in Farnborough on January 9 2012.

They also stole more than £79,500 of cigarettes, cash and goods in total from a One Stop in Finchampstead, Carphone Warehouse stores in Reading and Earley, Berkshire, and Tesco Express in Lytchpitt, Basingstoke.

The robberies took place between October 2011 and January 2012.

Loveridge and Last also burgled shops and homes and stole high performance cars and number plates between August 2011 and January 2012.

Detectives said the men paid no taxes but drove high-performance vehicles and splashed the stolen cash on goods including Rolex watches and Gucci shoes.

The court heard the men were ‘forensically aware,’ and on occasions wore white suits and gloves to avoid leaving any evidence at their crime scenes.

Judge Sarah Munro QC, sentencing, said: ‘Those robberies involved ruthless and callous execution with the minimal risk to you.

Smith, of Montrose Avenue, Datchet, was sentenced to 11 years because he is also serving a 14-year sentence.

Last, of Filmer Road, Windsor, was jailed for 17 years.

Loveridge, of Ditton Road, Slough, also admitted a charge of producing 24 class B cannabis plants at his Home.

He was sentenced to 17 years in jail.

All three men now face proceedings where they could be ordered to repay some of their criminal gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act.