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Violent armed £18,500 wages raid pair both jailed for 10 years

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: January 29, 2014

Two men who carried out a violent armed wages raid at an employment agency to pay off their drugs debts have both been jailed for 10 years at Lincoln Crown Court.

Judge Michael Heath heard that they had been told they would be killed if they tried to back out of the robbery.

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 July 12 last year.

The court heard that Kristaps Vilcins, Olegs Nikolajevs and their accomplice targeted an office in Spalding.

Mark Watson, prosecuting, said an office worker was temporarily blinded with CS spray and beaten with a pistol at Wykeham Staff Services on Swindlers Drove, off Holbeach Road in Spalding.

"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," Mr Watson said.

"And 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.

David Taylor, defending, 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.

"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," Mr Taylor said.

"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."

Judge Heath said: "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."

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