Two men who carried out an armed wages raid at a Spalding employment agency were each jailed for ten years by a judge at Lincoln Crown Court on Tuesday.
The pair, together with a third man who has not been traced by police, got away with £18,500 cash during the Friday lunchtime raid on the offices of Wykeham Staff Services at Swindler’s Drove, off Holbeach Road,
Mark Watson, prosecuting, said an office worker was temporarily blinded with CS spray and beaten with a pistol.
Mr Watson said “The man was working at his desk. Initially these two defendants came in. The first man who entered was holding a hand gun. That was Kristaps Vilcins. The gun was pointed directly at the office worker.
“The second man through the door was Olegs Nikolajevs. He too was armed.
“He had a canister that he used to spray into the man’s face.
“Vilcins attacked the man with the gun, striking him with it, causing him to fall to the floor.
“Vilcins then kept guard over the man, pointing the gun at him throughout whilst Nikolajevs was joined by a third man. The two of them then went into the manager’s office and straight to the drawer where the wages were kept. They emptied the drawer and its contents, taking £18,500. The whole thing lasted about 20 seconds.”
Vilcins and Nikolajevs were arrested after a Cambridgeshire Police officer recognised them from a CCTV still photograph as two men who regularly sat outside the court house next to the police station in Wisbech. They were detained three days after the robbery when they were found living rough in a wooded area of the town.
Vilcins (22), and Nikolajevs (24), both of School Lane, Wisbech, each admitted charges of robbery, possession of an imitation firearm while committing an offence and possession of a prohibited weapon following the incident on July 12 last year.
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told them “This is plainly a robbery that was planned. On your own accounts you were under considerable pressure but nevertheless you went ahead with it. Two weapons were used and violence was used, causing injury.”
David Taylor, mitigating, said both men had been put under pressure and attempted to back out only for the man behind the raid to send them back in.
He said: “These two men were down on their luck as a result of taking drugs. They had been working but lost their jobs and had taken to drugs. They worked up substantial debts. They were told that in order to get rid of their drug debt they had to do a job. They were told to do the job or they themselves would be killed. They felt very much under duress.”
ANDY’S HOME IS NOW A FORTRESS
Security at Wykeham Staff Services was stepped up after the £18,500 raid – and Andy Goulding has turned his own home into a fortress with five mortice locks on all the doors.
The courageous office worker hasn’t missed a single day’s work through the “life changing event” that has left him feeling unsafe, apart from going to court on Tuesday with his boss’s son, Trevor Payne.
Andy said: “I had a brief glance as they walked into court but that was the only time from start to finish that I actually looked. I saw the first one (Kristaps Vilcins) and that was just a face that’s burned into my memories – he was the one who pointed the gun in my face to begin with.”
He said support from his company and Spalding police has been fantastic – and he’s doing his best to carry on with his life.
“You have got to carry on otherwise they have won again,” said Andy.
Following the raid, his boss Martin Payne vowed there would be no cash kept on site again.
Spalding community police inspector Jim Tyner said: “This was a violent attack which shook the local community and could have left the victim far more seriously injured. The sentence handed down by Judge Heath reflects the seriousness of the offence and is a satisfying outcome for the officers who have worked hard in the case.”
He says police are “determined to rid our streets of those whose violent acts raise the fear of crime in our communities”.