Robbers lured men with car advert online

Bradley Day (left) and Ross Smith (right) were jailed for robbery at Preston Crown Court
Bradley Day (left) and Ross Smith (right) were jailed for robbery at Preston Crown Court
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A group of men were lured to Lancashire to buy a car from Gumtree, but ended up with their car smashed by robbers, a court has heard.

Former soldier Ross Smith, 28, and his accomplice Bradley Day, 28, hatched a plan to entice victims with large amounts of cash on them into a trap, by placing an advert for a car for sale on the Gumtree website.

Three men from Manchester travelled to Hawkhurst Road, a cul-de-sac in Penwortham, to view the vehicle on November 23, last year, Preston Crown Court was told.

But as they waited, Smith and Day, with their faces hidden, approached their car on foot and smashed their windows with a police baton.

Smith, of Rookery Court, Penwortham, and Day, of Whitefield Road, Penwortham, were jailed for four years and two months after admitting a robbery offence.

Prosecuting, Rachel Woods said: “There was no car for sale and it was a set up, a plan to rob the men of the money they had in their possession and in doing so they also had a police baton, which was used in the commission of the offence.

“Three men arrived at 5.50pm. There was no-one there. They had £2,400 and they were beginning to wonder whether the journey was a waste, and were slightly worried they were in a cul-de-sac with a large amount of cash, that concern wasn’t misplaced because shortly after two men approached, they had their faces concealed and one of them carried something used to smash the driver’s window.”

The court heard a laptop found in Smith’s car had references to Gumtree, and the IP address used when the bogus advert was placed was traced to Rookery Court. Day and Smith have previously robbed off licences in the area.

Defending Smith, Jon Close said he was a former army civil engineer who was discharged after fracturing both ankles and started committing crime.

Judge Stuart Baker said: “The conspiracy involved a not very sophisticated but potentially quite a profitable plan to lure someone on pretext of buying a car, then to overpower him and to steal money.”