Two men who held-up a string of post offices at gunpoint have been jailed after they were caught escaping from a robbery in Bedford.
Anthony Fagan, 53, and Syrus Hayles, 26, had already struck at seven stores across Herts and Essex when they burst into the post office in London Road.
They brandished an imitation handgun and demanded staff handed over cash before fleeing.
However, they were spotted by an officer on patrol in Clophill who alerted an armed response vehicle which began pursuing the Vauxhall Astra they were travelling in.
Hayles and Fagan stopped nearby and jumped over a fence in a bid to escape, but both were arrested in a nearby garden.
The gun and cash were recovered from the vehicle.
Both pleaded guilty to the offence on December 19 and seven previous armed robberies which took place between November 20 and December 15 last year.
Fagan, of Boleyn Avenue in Enfield, was sentenced to 14 years for armed robbery and possessing an imitation firearm. He will also serve 14 months for dangerous driving - the sentence will run concurrently.
Hayles, of Willingale Road in Loughton, Essex, was sentenced to 13 years for armed robbery at Luton Crown Court today (Friday, August 7)
The robberies occurred at the following locations:
• McColls, Tudor Parade, Rickmansworth on November 20, 2014.
• Post Office, Battlers Green Drive, Radlett on November 25, 2014.
• Tesco Express, Harcourt Road, Bushey on 1 December, 2014.
• Coral bookmakers, Garston Park Parade, Watford on December 7, 2014.
• William Hill bookmakers, Debden Broadway, Loughton, Essex on December 9, 2014.
• McColls, Tolpits Lane, Watford, on December 10, 2014.
• Post Office, Station Road, Cuffley on December 15, 2014.
• Post Office, London Road, Bedford on December 19, 2014.
On the majority of occasions Fagan and Hayles entered the businesses brandishing a handgun in a sock. They wore high visibility work-wear, balaclavas, white hard hats and they also carried clip boards.
Det Con Kevin Howes said: “This series of terrifying armed robberies caused a great deal of distress to a number of victims and I have no doubt that Fagan and Hayles would have gone on to commit further robberies had they not been caught.
“We welcome today’s sentence and hope it serves as a warning that we will not tolerate this type of criminal activity. We will relentlessly pursue those involved in committing crime and will work with our colleagues across other forces to bring these criminals to justice.”