A gang who targeted cash-in-transit couriers in Birmingham to fund a lavish lifestyle of designer clothes and champagne parties have been jailed for a combined 35 years following a 12 month police investigation.

Emmanuel Koryang (22), Peter White (25), and 19-year-old Lance Cotterell carried out a month-long crime spree in 2014, attacking cash-in-transit couriers and committing a violent robbery at a pub in Edgbaston.

The trio’s first robbery took place outside of a cinema on Broad Street in central Birmingham, where they set upon a G4S courier and made off with the cashbox he was delivering. The following week they assaulted another courier outside Alexandra Theatre in Station Street and a few days later they repeated the routine outside a Morrisons Supermarket in Five Ways.

A few weeks later they stole an empty cashbox during a delivery to RBS in Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston, before carrying out their most violent robbery two days later at the Edgbaston Tap pub. During the raid a barman was shot with a taser and threats were made to ignite spirits the gang had thrown over a customer.

Emmanuel Koryang – a man with a history of robbery offences – was quickly identified as a key suspect and arrested by West Midlands Police detectives. A search of his clothing revealed traces of SmartWater on a pair of trainers. This was subsequently analysed and identified as having come from the cashbox stolen during the gang’s first robbery. Cotterell and White were arrested in the following months.

An angle grinder found in a stolen Seat Leon the trio used as a getaway car was also recovered and found to be marked with SmartWater. Analysis by SmartWater scientists revealed multiple forensic codes from different cashboxes and directly linked the gang to both the Morrisons and Alexandra Theatre robberies.

Cashboxes used by cash-in-transit couriers such as G4S are all fitted with security dye systems containing a unique SmartWater forensic code. If forcibly opened the banknotes inside the box are doused in the dye, which helps the police to identify them as stolen. The ink will also transfer onto skin, clothing and any tools used by offenders. The SmartWater code can be analysed and traced back to a specific cashbox, meaning criminals can be linked with the scene of their crime.

Koryang, White and Cotterell all denied conspiracy to rob but were found guilty following a four week trial at Birmingham Crown Court. Koryang and White were each given 12 year sentences while getaway driver Cotterell was handed an 11 year jail term.

Detective Inspector Ben West from West Midlands Police said: “The men spent their loot as soon as they got it on designer clothes and travelling the country on big nights out. CCTV footage from a club in Newcastle after the Morrisons robbery shows them throwing thousands of pounds around and splashing out on bottles of expensive vodka.

“It’s clear from the level of violence used in the final robbery that they were prepared to stop at nothing in order to get what they wanted and when faced with anything more than a lone van driver, their brutality escalated.”

SmartWater Chief Executive Phil Cleary, said: “The lengthy sentences of these three men reflect the serious nature of the crimes they committed. We are very pleased to have been able to assist the exemplary work of West Midlands Police Force in bringing these men to justice.”

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