Two men who committed an armed robbery at a Lincolnshire post office have been jailed.
Patrick Middlebrook, 51, and Kirk Marlow, 29, entered the post office in Wragby on May 5 this year and threatened the postmaster with a sawn-off shotgun and a knife before fleeing with cash.
Patrick Middlebrook, 51, had been released just four months earlier from a 15-year jail sentence imposed in 2001 for identical armed raids on post offices.
He was ordered to serve at least ten years before he can be considered for parole after admitting the latest robbery.
Kirk Marlow, 29, who acted as the getaway driver, also admitted robbery and was jailed for 12 years. A third man involved has never been traced.
Mark van der Zwart, prosecuting, said that after they forced their way into the post office, they waited to confront postmaster Glenn Marflitt with a sawn-off shotgun and a large knife.
Mr Marflitt’s terrified wife and adult son were tied up and bundled into a cupboard before the postmaster was warned he would be knee-capped if he did not open the safe.
The intruders snatched £20,000 and made off after tying up Mr Marflitt and putting him in the cupboard. Mr van der Zwart said the family managed to free themselves and called police.
Officers quickly identified the getaway car and it was tracked by automatic number plate recognition cameras back to Sheffield where it was stopped within two hours of the raid.
Marlow was arrested with the vehicle and Middlebrook was detained following a lengthy stand-off with police after he was found inside Marlow’s home. £12,000 of the stolen money was recovered.
The court heard that Middlebrook, of Daniel Hall Street, Upperthorpe, Sheffield, was jailed for four years in 1982 for robbery and received a nine-year sentence at Sheffield Crown Court in 1992 for another robbery.
Then in 2001 he was jailed for 15 years at Hull Crown Court for conspiracy to commit robbery involving 10 armed raids on post offices and banks across Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
He was only released from that sentence on January 30 this year.
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, said “The ordeal that this family had to suffer lasted an hour and 20 minutes. It was a terrifying experience.”
Andrew Smith, for Middlebrook, said his client got work as a van driver after leaving prison but was laid off and quickly got into debt.
“He was under significant pressure from people he borrowed money from,” he said.
David Eager, for Marlow, of Musgrave Crescent, Longley, Sheffield, said he was the getaway driver.
He said Marlow had no previous record of committing robbery and was genuinely sorry for what he did.