Two men responsible for a series of robberies at convenience stores across Kent have been jailed.

Duncan Snape and Robert Powsey received sentences of 14 years and nine years and nine months respectively, after being found guilty of conspiracy to rob. The duo had carried out robberies at McColl’s stores between March 2012 and March of this year.

On 5 March 2012, they stole £6,500 from McColl’s in Admirals Walk, Lordswood, tying up the staff with cable ties. They hit the same store on 29 April where they stole £3,400. They had attempted to rob McColl’s at Parkwood Green in Gillingham on 3 September however the sales assistant managed to stop their entry and called the police.

On 26 September they stole £7,498 from McColl’s on Orion Road, Rochester, in which a staff member and delivery driver were threatened and tied up. Two members of staff were tied up during the robbery at McColl’s The Row, New Ash Green, Longwood on 18 December where £1,600 was stolen.

The raiders struck again on 11 February of this year at McColl’s Singleton Post Office, Ashford where £6,362 was taken. Less than a month later, they robbed the McColl’s on Leander Drive in Gravesend and took £3,932. On 11 March, they hit McColl’s in Martin Aylesford and stole £4,642 and on 31 March they robbed £4,912 from Leander Drive.

The combined amount stolen over the 12-month period totalled more than £36,000.

The thieves were eventually caught when Snape was recognised by a member of staff at the Admirals Walk store and this was matched with CCTV footage of the perpetrator removing his balaclava after a robbery. A police investigation found baseball bats and text messages planning the raids. Both men had previously served jail sentences for a store robbery in 1996 while Snape had been jailed in 2002 for a robbery in which he poured petrol over a shop assistant and threatened to set her on fire.

Kent detective constable Jon Saxby praised the bravery of the store workers in helping convict Snape and Powsey. “People should not be afraid of going to work and carrying out their duties for fear of this type of crime and they can rest easier knowing that these two will be spending a significant time behind bars.”