Duo jailed for �12,000 theft horror

TWO men have been given nine and 10 year prison sentences for a spate of robberies including the raid on Newton Poppleford Post Office last year.

Tony Marshall and Mursel Haziri were sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Monday, for robberies and burglaries across the south and South West, including the attack on the postmaster and his family.

Contrary to previous reports, Farhad Hajilou, 26, of Temple Road, London, was not involved in the Newton Poppleford incident. He was given nine years for conspiracy to rob, relating to an attack made on Sundown Cottage, Bedfordshire.

Devon and Cornwall officers worked with colleagues in Hampshire on the investigation. DCI Dick Pearson, of Hampshire Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said nothing could have been done earlier to distance Hajilou’s name from the Newton Poppleford aspect of the case.

“The decision was made on the whole picture,” he said. “The men were charged, indicted and convicted for conspiracy to commit a series of robberies across several counties. The case was handled very professionally.”

Marshall, 33, of Bradby Avenue, Wembley, received an indeterminate sentence of 10 years for conspiracy to rob and seven years for conspiracy to commit burglary, to run concurrently.

Haziri, 30, of no fixed abode, was given an indeterminate sentence of nine years for conspiracy to rob and seven for conspiracy to commit burglary, to run concurrently.

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A fourth man, James Roger Barre, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing in connection to the offences, will be sentenced at a later date.

During the post office hold-up in the early hours of Tuesday, July 7, the postmaster’s family were tied up by the masked, knife-wielding robbers, who stole �12,000.

During the trial, it was revealed the men committed the string of offences during a two-month spree.

Detective Sergeant Steve Saunders, of East Devon CID, said the raid was an “extremely rare” crime for Devon and Cornwall, for which “significant custodial sentences” had been imposed.

He said: “From the time the incident was reported, detectives from CID at Honiton and other departments conducted a complex investigation resulting in the arrests and searches of homes in London and the Home Counties. This led to three males being charged on July 10, 2009 for conspiracy to commit burglary and robbery.”