VIOLENT armed robbers who targeted a series of small businesses and bookmakers have been jailed.

John Robinson and Charlie Garratty had previously pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to nine offences each, which included a robbery in Stanford-le-Hope.

In December 2011, Robinson and Garratty hit Stanford Jewellers,in King Street, at about 2.45pm.

They entered wearing balaclavas and one person was armed with a black handgun. They shouted their demands before driving off in a waiting stolen car with £30,000 of jewellery.

Robinson, 35, and Garratty, 25, pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery, three of possessing a firearm, two of burglary and one of conspiracy to burgle. They were each jailed for 12 years.

The Flying Squad at Barking launched Operation Coche to investigate the string of offences in London and Essex, which took place between November 2011 and March 2012.

At the pair’s sentencing, Southwark Crown Court heard how Robinson, of Dock Street, Whitechapel, east London, and Garratty, of, Raymouth Road, Southwark, south London, were arrested in March last year.

Among their crimes, in January last year, they approached the front door of a house in Westlyn Close, Rainham, but were disturbed by the owners.

They then returned to their waiting stolen vehicle and drove off.

However, the police helicopter pursued them along the busy A13 where the vehicle travelled the wrong way down the carriageway before the suspects left the car and ran off. They were later arrested.

Robinson and Garratty were sentenced to ten years for each of the robberies and four years for each of the firearms offences, with all the terms to run concurrently.

They were each sentenced to 12 months for conspiracy to commit burglary and 12 months for the burglaries, with these to run consecutively