"This was a well-executed, professional, commercial robbery"
Two armed robbers carried out a “professionally executed” raid on Wellstone Rise Post Office, Swinnow, West Yorkshire, where a blank firing pistol and smoke bomb were discharged.
Leeds Crown Court heard that the incident happened on September 3, 2019.
Two men entered the post office, which is located within a general store, at 8:55 am wearing face coverings while a third man waited outside in a stolen BMW.
The postmaster was threatened as demands were made for cash and the weapon was fired.
The cash was handed over and the armed robbers fled. The robbery took just 40 seconds.
No one was injured but those inside the premises were left badly shaken. The postmaster was also left covered in red powder from the smoke bomb.
None of the cash has been recovered.
A police helicopter was deployed in an attempted to catch the robbers. The stolen BMW was discovered abandoned in the Bradford area.
Police carried out a search at a house in Wansford Close, Bradford, and found a firearm loaded with blanks. Nasser Khan’s DNA was found on the weapon.
Mobile phone evidence also linked him to the robbery.
Khan was found guilty of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
It was heard that he became involved with organised criminal gangs in 2014.
In 2015, he was jailed for four years for conspiracy to commit burglary. While serving the sentence, he was convicted of conspiracy to smuggle prohibited items into prison.
At the time of the robbery, he was out on licence.
Judge Robin Mairs told Khan: “CCTV footage shows it was a swiftly executed professional robbery.
“Each man knew his role. An imitation firearm was discharged within the post office which I imagine would have terrified those in the general store at the time.
“This was a well-executed, professional, commercial robbery carried out by professional robbers.
“It was designed to cause the maximum terror to those inside, meaning there would be the least resistance.”
Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Khan, aged 38, of Bradford, was jailed for 12 years.
A second defendant pleaded guilty to assisting an offender in relation to providing the car used in the robbery. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Detective Sergeant Andy Greatorex, of Leeds District CID, said:
“The victims and witnesses in this robbery were put through an absolutely terrifying ordeal when they were confronted by two masked men, with one brandishing a handgun.
“They threatened to shoot them and at the point that gun was fired they had no way of knowing it was an imitation and were in genuine fear for their lives.
“Detailed and comprehensive enquiries led to the recovery of the car and the blank-firing gun used and saw Khan identified as a suspect.
“The incident has understandably had a lasting traumatic impact on those involved and we hope they can take some comfort from knowing that he has now been brought to justice.”