Jailed: bungling bank robbers who were arrested because their stolen car didn’t have number plates
Three members of a Belfast criminal gang who were spotted after a bank robbery driving a stolen car with no number plates have been given lengthy jail sentences.
The trio admitted robbing the Northern Bank branch in Kesh, Co Fermanagh, three years ago.
The gang, who also rammed a police car while making their escape across the border, were rumbled by gardai when they were spotted blatantly driving around Donegal in a stolen car with no registration plates.
The bungling robbers, who made off with £5,400 and €1,200 in the raid, were jailed for a total of 32 years at the Crown Court in Londonderry yesterday.
Sean Moran (38), from Monagh Drive in west Belfast, who committed the robbery while on probation following a nine-year jail sentence for a previous heist at the Ulster Bank branch in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, in 2003, was given the stiffest sentence of 12 years and six months.
Sean McKay (26), whose address was given as care of Maghaberry Prison, was jailed for 10 years and six months.
The court was told he had a total of 56 previous criminal convictions. Gavin Dempster (29), also from Monagh Drive, was jailed for nine-and-a-half years.
He also admitted injuring two police officers by ramming a stolen getaway car into a chasing PSNI vehicle near the border just minutes after the bank robbery.
All three were arrested the day after the bank raid in Donegal town on February 21, 2009 after they were spotted by gardai while driving around the Diamond area of the town in a second stolen car they had removed the number plates from — but had neglected to replace with false plates.
All of the money taken from the bank was recovered.
Jailing the gang members for what he called their cowardly attack which traumatised the three bank staff on duty at the time of the robbery, Judge Philip Babington said they had used knives and a hammer to terrorise staff.
He said the lesser sentence for Dempster was “an act of mercy” because of his medical condition which necessitates kidney dialysis treatment three times a week.
The three also admitted charges of dangerous driving following the robbery.