ARMED robbers who raided a co-op on Fathers Day have been sentenced to more than 70 years behind bars.

The 'dangerous' gang 'terrified' staff at Bicester's co-op on Bassett Avenue last year.

The raid, on June 17, was part of a 12-month crime spree around London and the south during which the group of four men carried out 22 armed robberies and two attempted robberies.

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The gang targeted co-operative and One Stop shops, using knives and guns to threaten staff before tying them up and stealing cash, tobacco and alcohol.

In total, the group stole more than £100,000 in cash and £15,000 worth of alcohol and cigarettes from the stores.

CCTV from the crimes linked the gang together, prompting the Metropolitan Police to launch an investigation in 2018.

In December the investigation culminated in a series of arrests, just before three of them were about to unleash an another attack.

Officers watched as the group drove around London in a silver Vauxhall before parking up outside a One Stop shop that was just about to open for the day. The squad then intercepted and cuffed the trio before finding a black handgun, balaclava and knife in the car.

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The officers used forensics and phones to link the fourth man to the robberies and they were all charged on December 14.

They were sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on October 1.

Shane Wilson, 40, from London pleaded guilty on March 21 to 24 counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Clleon Smith, 32, from Croydon pleaded guilty on March 15 to 11 counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months in prison.

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Joel Rene Derriviere, 45, from Lambeth, also pleaded guilty on April 1 to ten counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Samuel Kenneth Bernard, 56, also from London, was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to commit robbery following a three-week long trial. He has been sentenced to 18-years in prison.

The judge, HH Judge Holt, praised the victims, saying they were a credit to the companies they worked for.

She added: "In extreme circumstances, the victims exhibited considerable fortitude and bravery."

Detective constable William Man said: “These prolific gang members terrified shop workers across the country in order to steal cash. They are dangerous individuals who threatened victims with knives and guns throughout their brazen crime spree.

“I hope the victims, and the wider public, feel reassured that these violent offenders have been taken off the streets and will now serve lengthy sentences behind bars.

"I also hope the sentences act as a deterrent to those involved in this type of criminality. We will continue to bear down on violent crime and we will work night and day to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice.”