A GANG of men have been jailed for a total of 19-and-a-half years for their part in an armed robbery on an estate agency.

Last July, Jonathan Hogan and John Grimshaw burst into Pearson Ferrier in Walmersley Road, Bury, and threatened staff with an imitation shotgun and a spanner.

Grimshaw, aged 24, of no fixed abode, hit property manager Nicholas Maitland with the gun and demanded he open the safe, while Hogan, aged 22, of Crostons Road, Bury, ordered five of his colleagues to sit on the floor.

After staff suffered a horrific 10-minute ordeal, the pair fled with £5,340 into a waiting Mazda which was driven away by Daniel Ogden, aged 38, of George Street, Ramsbottom.

Later, Hogan, Grimshaw and a 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were captured on CCTV cameras "holding a large amount of cash"..."on a spending spree" at the Trafford Centre.

But what they did not bank on was an eagle-eyed neighbour noting down the Mazda's registration number and passing it to police.

The man was today given a £300 reward for what Judge Clayson called “courage, vigilance and bravery, without which it is questionable whether the offenders would have been caught.”

At Bolton Crown Court this afternoon, Judge Timothy Clayson described Grimshaw,  who had admitted robbery, as a violent man posing a significant threat to the public and jailed him for seven years, with an extended licence period of three years.

Hogan, who was found guilty of robbery after a trial, was jailed for seven years, plus another eight months for admitting smashing Stephen Doyle four or five times with a metal torch in May 2013, putting him in hospital with two head wounds.

Ogden, who was also found guilty of conspiracy to rob after a trial, was jailed for five-a-and-half years.

The girl, who admitted perverting the course of justice and converting the proceeds of crime, was given a 12-month youth rehabilitation order with an intensive supervision and surveliance order, with will also require her to stay home from 7pm to 7am every day for three months.

A further charge of perjury was allowed to lay on file.

Judge Clayson said: “You should understand how close you have come to prison.”

He added: "This was a terrifying incident for the staff. One man is still having dental problems a year."

The court was told that there was an element of planning in the operation, as Grimshaw seemed to know where the safe was and the access code.

Grimshaw expressed disappointment with the amount of cash he took from the safe and said: "I know you get your takings in on Thursdays. Tell me where the money is or I will start pumping the ceiling full of bullets."

Judge Clayson was told how Ogden had been fishing an hour before driving the getaway car.

At the time, Ogden's partner was heavily pregnant with his third child.

His defence counsel said Ogden had merely given a lift to Grimshaw and Hogan and "he knew something wasn't right and they were up to no good and he regrets his involvement."

However, Judge Clayson poured scorn on the last claim. He said: "I cannot accept this argument.

"Ogden has had plenty of time to say this, but he denied involvement and pleaded not guilty." 

The court also heard how Ogden, Hogan and Grimshaw had travelled to The Midlands to pay £500 from the robbery in a part exchange deal for a car.

Defence counsel Robert Golinski said Hogan, Grimshaw and the teenager was spotted in the Trafford Centre "holding a large amount of cash" and Judge Clayson said they were "on a spending spree."

It was later found out that £20 of the robbery cash had been put on the girl's Boots Advantage card and that she had lied to the police.