TWO THUGS linked to Coventry’s organised crime network have been handed long jail sentences after being linked to a ‘barbaric robbery’ at Hatton Country World.
Steven McInulty and Criag Covington were arrested by West Midlands Police officers involved in a covert operation, who had been keeping tabs on the pair as part of enquiries into a series of shop raids across Coventry.
The two men, armed with a machette and ice-axe, held up three female staff members at Hatton Country World on July 23 last year.
The members of staff were rounding off their shift at Hatton World’s on-site shop – not long after the last visitors had left – when three masked men ran in and forced them into a back office, threatening to cut their hands off unless they opened safes.
At one stage one of the women bravely challenged the men shouting: “Do it, cut my hands off then – I can’t open the safe anyway because I don’t have the number.”
Covington, from Cross Road in Foleshill, and McInulty, of Bathurst Road in Radford, made off with a till float and cash bags from one safe in McInulty’s Renault Megane.
But within two hours the pair had been arrested by detectives who lay in wait at 27-year-old McInulty’s home address – finding the machete and ice-axe in his car and a bundle of £5 notes and Hatton World cash bags in 30-year-old Covington’s nearby Audi A3.
Both men admitted robbery and at Warwick Crown Court last week, (Friday, Jan16) with McInulty jailed for six years and eight months – and must serve an extended four-year licence period upon his eventual release – whilst Covington was handed a five year, two month sentence.
Charges were dropped against a third man arrested at the time – a 29-year-old from the Stoke area in Coventry – when a court deemed there was insufficient evidence.
Superintendent Nick Walton from Coventry Police welcomed the sentence and vowed the force would keep up the pressure on organised crime in the city.
He said: “We’ve scored some notable successes in recent months with known criminals put behind bars for many years and others in prison awaiting trial having been arrested.”
The robbers threatened to cut off a woman’s fingers with this machette. (s)