Two men have been sentenced to 10 years each in prison following an armed robbery at a bank in Leyland.

Justin Hulme, 27, of Norbury Street in Leigh and Darren Hope, 33 of Maple Crescent Leigh have both been sentenced to 10 years in prison at Preston Crown Court after admitting to armed robbery following an earlier hearing.

The incident happened at the Lloyds TSB branch on Hough Lane in Leyland on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

At around 9:45am that day two masked men wearing dark clothing, one armed with a gun, the other with a sledgehammer threatened a security guard who was delivering cash inside the bank.

During the raid they held a gun to the head of the security guard as well as threatening staff and bank customers who were forced to lie on the floor.

The men then fled the scene in a grey Ford Mondeo having stolen a significant quantity of cash. The car was found abandoned on Rushwood Park in Standish later that morning. A major investigation was launched and enquiries led to the arrest of Hulme and Hope.

Detective chief inspector Geoff Hurst, head of CID for Southern Division said, “Today is the culmination of a lengthy police investigation stretching over six months and I am pleased with the sentences handed down by the judge at court.

“This was a meticulously planned and executed robbery on a bank in the heart of Leyland community. The two men were organised and calculated. They had clearly researched their crime and went to great lengths to carry out their crime and secure their escape.

“I cannot imagine how terrified the staff and the customers must have felt that morning. To be greeted by two men brandishing such intimidating weapons must have been a terrifying experience. We have offered them support and hopefully the fact the robbers are now behind bars can be of some comfort to them.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Leyland as well as the Business community for their support and courage during this challenging investigation.

“Everyone rallied round and showed these criminals what we, as upstanding citizens can achieve when we stand together.”