A TOP police officer has praised the operation that led to two “dangerous, professional” bank robbers being locked up.
Det Chief Insp Mick McDermott also revealed police were actively pursuing two gang members who are thought to have fled to Spain after raiding HSBC in Marsh.
As reported yesterday Patrick McDonagh and Carl Hargin were jailed for stealing more than £300,000 from the Westbourne Road branch in an armed, daylight robbery in June.
Hargin, 24, got eight years and eight months and McDonagh, 28, got seven years and four months after admitting the offence.
Det Chf Insp McDermott, of West Yorkshire Police’s crime division, said: “They were obviously dangerous and very professional in the way they planned and prepared the offence, using stolen vehicles, one of which was later burned out and abandoned.
“The level of violence used at the scene was horrific and it was lucky the bank staff were not seriously injured.
“It’s a good result to have got the sentences they received.”
Hargin, of Salford, and McDonagh, of Cheetham Hill in Manchester, were part of a four-strong gang who armed themselves with a sledgehammer, a machete and a crowbar when they targeted the bank on the afternoon of June 26.
After forcing staff to open the safe, they fled in a Vauxhall Vectra with hold-alls full of cash.
The car was later burned out and the gang got in a van, which was spotted by police.
It sparked a dramatic chase from Huddersfield to Manchester city centre, where Greater Manchester Police caught up with them in the Arndale Shopping Centre car park.
Det Chf Insp McDermott said one of the gang attempted to strip off his clothes and hide behind cars before he was caught.
Hargin and McDonagh were arrested, but the others escaped.
Det Chf Insp McDermott added: “It was a great team effort between West Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police. They reacted quickly to information we gave to them and in difficult circumstances managed to safely arrest two violent offenders.”
He confirmed the other two gang members were thought to have fled to Spain and added: “We have identified who the other two suspects are, and they have been circulated as wanted.
“The case is still a live inquiry and we are still actively pursuing them.”