Armed robbers jailed for 73 years after shooting Lancashire farmer with shotgun

Four men have been jailed following a robbery near Ormskirk where a farmer was shot at point-blank range during a raid on his home.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 10:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 10:37 am
(Pictured clockwise, starting top left) Alan Daniels, 38, of Oaklee Grove, Liverpool, Anthony Hill, 40 of Oakdale Close, Liverpool, Dean Sanders, 32, of St Andrews Court, North Shields and Craig Reynolds, 36, of Birchmuir Hey, Liverpool, were sentenced at Preston Crown Court yesterday (Monday, July 19). Pic: Lancashire Police

Alan Daniels, 38, of Oaklee Grove, Liverpool, Anthony Hill, 40 of Oakdale Close, Liverpool, Dean Sanders, 32, of St Andrews Court, North Shields and Craig Reynolds, 36, of Birchmuir Hey, Liverpool, were sentenced at Preston Crown Court yesterday (Monday, July 19).

Police were called around 9.40pm on July 28, 2019, to a report a man had been shot during a robbery at a farm in Back Lane, near Ormskirk.

Officers, including armed police, swooped on the farmhouse and found the man, 65, with serious gunshot wounds to his ankle and knee.

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But the armed gang had already been made off from the scene after stealing five shotguns, jewellery, watches, and cash.

Detectives established the victim had been asleep in a static caravan in the rear garden of the property when he was woken by a noise outside.

He got up and walked to the patio doors where he saw a number of men wearing masks, hoodies and carrying shotguns.

One of the men saw the victim and discharged a gun through the patio door, with bullets hitting a television inside the caravan.

The man went outside where the group started to poke him with the weapons, demanding money. The man offered to give them some cash from inside his home, but as he reached the property, he was shot in the knee.

The victim’s partner, who was inside, went to help but the group told her to get out of the way. Once inside the men snatched cash and watches, then demanded to know whether the victim had any guns.

When he hesitated to answer, he was shot at close range in the ankle by one of the defendants who demanded, "Answer quicker!"

One of the men also slammed the rifle of his gun into the victim’s mouth and groin area.

The men made more demands for the keys to the owner’s gun cabinet, hitting the victim in the face again. Three of the men went upstairs and stole shotguns belonging to the victim, while a fourth man stole the victim’s gold bracelet, having removed it using a letter opener.

As the men came downstairs, the 65-year-old man faked a heart attack, forcing the attackers to leave. As the men left the property, they warned that if either of the couple called the police within an hour they would return and kill him.

The victim was taken to hospital with devastating and life-changing injuries to his ankle. He is still suffering serious complications as a result of these significant injuries.

During the robbery, four shotguns, a poacher’s gun, a quantity of cash, a Raymond Veil watch worth about £500, a silver cuff bracelet worth about £160, a platinum diamond ring worth £5,000, car keys and a yellow gold bracelet worth £3,000 were stolen.

Several items were seized by Crime Scene Investigators including the letter opener. Forensic analysis of the letter opener identified a partial DNA profile which did not belong to the victim. This profile was checked on the national database, matching Daniels.

Daniels was arrested in October 2019 and charged.

Further enquiries found bank cards and PIN numbers had been taken in the raid. Withdrawals were made from the cards at three locations in Liverpool. Detectives conducted enquiries in the locality of these transactions including CCTV and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) and linked a blue Audi to the withdrawals, belonging to Anthony Hill.

Following extensive telephony and CCTV enquiries, the investigation team linked Daniels, Hill, Reynolds, and Sanders to cash withdrawals and identified regular contact between them at key times surrounding the offence.

Telephony records from Hill, Sanders, and Reynolds, along with ANPR linked to Hill’s vehicle, also suggested the trio had conducted reconnaissance around the place of offence on Saturday, July 27, 2019 and again shortly before the offence.

Daniels pleaded guilty, with the remaining men pleading not guilty and going to trial.

All were found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and having a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence. A fifth man was found not guilty.

Daniels was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 14 years and 319 days, with Sanders given 19 years. Reynolds was jailed for 20 years, with a two-year extended licence, with Hill sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Senior Investigating Officer, Det Ch Insp Jason Richardson, of Lancashire Police, said: “The sentencing is the end of a long-running investigation into a savage and brutal robbery, which left a man with serious, life-changing injuries which he will never fully recover from.

“The damage caused to the victim’s leg, in particular his ankle, was catastrophic and has required a number of operations. He was hospitalised for several weeks and still today, is suffering serious complications following the savage injuries that were inflicted on him by the offenders.

“The attackers, under the impression there was a large amount of money at the address, showed extreme levels of violence to try and get what they wanted – making off with guns, cash, watches and jewellery, which have not been recovered.

“It is clear these individuals are very dangerous and very violent offenders and I am pleased they have been handed significant sentences which reflect the gravity of their actions.

“I, along with the two victims of this horrific crime, would like to place on record our thanks to the investigation team, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the prosecuting Counsel, Mr Francis McEntee and Ms Kim Obrusik. All of which went above and beyond the call of duty to get justice for the victims. They showed tremendous dedication and commitment to identify and bring to justice the offenders for this extremely serious crime.

“These men were travelling criminals who entered Lancashire to carry out a violent and despicable act with no regard whatsoever for the consequences or the destruction that they caused. I hope this investigation and the lengthy prison sentences handed down will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking they can come to Lancashire and commit these types of violent act and that it sends a strong message that serious criminality of this type, will not be tolerated.”