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VIDEO: Jail for post office robbers

VIDEO: Jail for post office robbers

Published at 1:06pm 6th January 2016. (Updated at 7:18pm 6th January 2016)

Two brothers have been jailed for a total of 34 years after an armed robbery at Boston Spa's post office.

Mark Pick, 42, and Martin Pick, 38, and his son Declan, then aged 17, carried out the raid on 23 March last year.

The father and son went into the shop dressed as women, with the father being pushed in a wheelchair.

Customers fled as Martin Pick pulled out a shotgun from under a blanket that he had over his knees and jumped onto the counter demanding money.

Declan Pick produced what appeared to be a handgun and the pair forced open the tills and stole cash.

They demanded that the postmaster opened the safe, but he told them there was no more money.

Declan Pick pointed the pistol at him and pulled the trigger, although it was believed to be an air pistol and no pellet was discharged.

Several passers-by alerted police before planning to intervene, with one man initially holding the post office door shut.

The robbers ran from the shop and were chased by the postmaster, before members of the public pulled off the men's hats and wigs and tried to detain them as they attempted to escape in a stolen Nissan Juke driven by Mark Pick.

During the struggle, the postmaster was hit over the head with a crowbar by Martin Pick who was then disarmed by a witness.

The Nissan pulled away, but the offenders soon realised that Martin Pick had been left behind and was being held down by members of the public.

The vehicle reversed back to where Declan Pick emerged with the shotgun and fired it into the air.

It forced the people holding his father to release him and all three sped off without the stolen money.

The car, which had been stolen during a burglary in Wetherby in February, was found on fire in nearby Beeches End a short time later.

It was bearing different registration plates which had been stolen from two vehicles in Meanwood and Headingley.

The men then switched to another car before leaving the area.

 

How the robbers were caught

Detectives quickly identified Martin Pick as a suspect.

He was living in nearby Clifford and had been jailed for 10 years in 2004 for being part of a group which committed and conspired to commit robberies at shops, post offices and other businesses across West Yorkshire.

Firearms officers arrested him in the Gipton area of Leeds in the early hours of 25 March.

He refused to answer any questions in his police interview, but denied being involved in the robbery.

Forensic work on the wigs recovered at the scene found enough of his DNA to suggest that he had worn one of them.

Mark Pick was arrested on 3 April, after his DNA was found on a pair of sunglasses which were recovered from the bag containing the stolen money left at the scene.

He refused to answer questions or offer any explanation as to how his DNA could have got there.

Both men were charged with the robbery and possession of firearms and were remanded in custody.

Declan Pick was arrested on 25 May, after his DNA was found on the second wig recovered at the scene.

He claimed that he had worn it for a joke at a house some time before the robbery, but wouldn't elaborate on the circumstances.

He was also unable to explain the apparent coincidence that his father's and uncle's DNA had been found too.

Police then charged him with the offences.

Martin Pick admitted the offences when he appeared in court, and Mark and Declan Pick were found guilty after a trial at Leeds Crown Court in November.

Martin Pick, of Willow Avenue, Clifford, was sentenced to 18 years behind bars, with a five-year extended licence.

Mark Pick, of Lea Farm Road, Leeds, was jailed for 16 years.

Declan Pick, 18, of Esthwaite Gardens, Leeds, is due to be sentenced at a later date.

Detective Inspector Phil Jackson, of Leeds District CID, said: "Although the bizarre disguises these men used may make this incident seem like a comedy, for those involved it was deadly serious and was clearly a very frightening experience in what is normally a quiet village.

"The postmaster was hit over the head during the struggle after he was threatened at gunpoint. A shotgun was fired in the street, and although we think that was probably a blank round, the people involved wouldn't have known that at the time.

"This makes the actions of the members of the public who intervened even more courageous. When most people would be running away from two armed men, they were running towards them and seemed determined not to let them get away with robbing their local post office.

"Their actions meant the robbers were forced to flee empty-handed and leave behind crucial evidence that we were able to use to link them to the crime.

"There is clearly a strong sense of community in Boston Spa and, while we would never encourage people to put themselves at risk, we have to recognise the bravery people showed here which proved absolutely vital in bringing these men to justice.

"We hope it will provide some reassurance to the victims, the witnesses and the wider community to know that these men are now safely behind bars."

Postmaster Tony Williams said: "They didn't just rob the post office, it felt like they robbed my soul. I am still receiving counselling and finding it hard to back to being the happy-go-lucky person that I was before.

"What got me angry was when he fired the gun at me in the shop. I didn't know if it was real or not. I went after them and ended up fighting with one of them in the street. I still have those frightening images at the forefront of my mind.

"I have tried to get on with running the business, but am on edge all the time and always keep one eye on the door. I have put the business up for sale as I can't stay there anymore.

"I'm very grateful to all the people who came to my aid during this incident and I want to pass on my heartfelt thanks to them for the community spirit they showed."

Mark Pick    Martin Pick

Mark and Martin Pick who have both been jailed after the Boston Spa robbery