Fri, 28 Jan 2011
An armed gang smashed their way through the rear wall of a Birmingham bank after stealing a JCB normally used for digging graves from a nearby cemetery, a court has heard.
The masked raiders, armed with sawn-off shotguns and a 9mm pistol, targeted the UAE bank in Handsworth, after robbing, kidnapping and tying up three cemetery workers, the city's Crown Court was told.
Opening the Crown's case against five people accused of involvement in both robberies, Andrew Lockhart QC said the cemetery workers' ordeal ended only when they were "pushed out into the gutter" after the raids.
He told the jury that £5,314 in cash, a BMW car, a Ford van and the digger were all taken from Handsworth Cemetery on January 12 last year.
Alleging that a mixture of DNA testing, mobile phone analysis and other evidence proved the five defendants' guilt, Mr Lockhart told jurors that two men and a woman who worked at Handsworth Cemetery had been confronted at gunpoint.
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