gang of robbers ‘guilty’

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THREE members of a gang of armed robbers who pulled off a series of heists are facing jail.

The gang wore military style outfits and made off with nearly £50,000 after a raid on Mildenhall’s branch of Nationwide.

And the robbers carried out further crimes across Essex, netting nearly £350,000 in the process.

The gang used the money to fuel playboy lifestyles, Snaresbrook Crown court heard.

Ringleader Danny Speed, 29, of Eisenhower Drive, Beckton, bought luxury cars including a BMW X5 and is thought to have invested in property.

The jury took nearly 23 hours to find the men guilty last Wednesday.

Speed was convicted of five counts of conspiracy to rob between November 3, 2005 and September 28 last year.

Speed’s cousin Lee Watson, 42, also of Eisenhower Drive, Beckton, was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to rob and having a firearm with intent.

Andrew McCracken, 31, of Earlsdown House, Barking, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to rob.

The Nationwide robbery in March 2008 saw the gang dressed in camouflage fatigues to blend in with US military forces based nearby.

Speed and Watson also armed themselves with a taser stun gun – capable of shooting thousands of volts of electricity.

After smashing their way through the building society’s glass doors, one of the gang threatened to use the taser on G4S security guard Mark Logan.

One of the robbers said to another camouflage-clad raider: “Do you want me to taser him? Go on, let me taser him.”

The robbers were targeting a cash box which security guards were delivering.

They escaped with £47,370.

Flying squad detectives tracked the gang for months and planted bugs in a car hired as a getaway vehicle.

They finally arrested the group after listening in on plans to rob Morrisons in Hadleigh.

A police helicopter was scrambled and marksmen shot out the tyres of the gang’s Nissan Navara getaway truck as they fled.

They were arrested weeks later on November 19.

The jury could not reach a verdict in the case of another defendant, Craig Mason, 31, of no fixed address.

Former Miss Great Britain Danielle Lloyd had appeared as an alibi for Mason at the 12-week trial.

The men will be sentenced on February 4.