Northern Ireland

Three men sentenced to 24 years for armed robbery plot

The gun recovered by police
The gun recovered by police The gun recovered by police

THREE men have been handed sentences totalling 24 years for an armed plot to rob a cash-in-transit van.

Stephen Allen (25), of Glenville Park, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, and Michael Leo McMillan (29), of Carlisle Road, Belfast, received nine-year sentences divided equally between custody and supervised licence on release from jail.

Both pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to rob, possession of a firearm with intent and having a firearm and ammunition.

Jason Francis McMillan (32), of Eithne House, Duncairn Parade, Belfast pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and was sentenced to six years and two months, with three years and one month in custody and a similar period on licence.

Belfast Crown Court heard that on the morning of March 6, 2021, a G4S cash-in-transit truck was due to call at a Spar shop on the Glen Road in west Belfast to collect takings totalling £4,679.

The court heard that the PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) believed an armed robbery was going to take place in the Belfast area in that week.

Stephen Allen and Michael McMillen were arrested in a stolen car on the Glen Road.

Jason McMillan was arrested a short time later in a petrol station on the Falls Road.

A loaded reactivated Webley revolver and six rounds of ammunition were found in the rear of the stolen Tiguan along with a green petrol canister.

Sentencing, Judge Gilpin said: "The intended robbery in a residential area did not come to fruition but it was not due to any lack of intent. It was due to the timely intervention of the police.''

He said Stephen Allen and Michael Allen were centrally involved in the robbery plot while Jason McMillan was acting in an "advisory role''.

Between them they have 235 convictions on their criminal records.