A Council employee who plotted robberies using a fake internet advertisement to lure his victims to Bradford has been locked up for five years.
Mohammed Hasan was part of an armed gang that ambushed people drawn to a dark car park by the promise of cheap flat screen televisions.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that Hasan, 20, of Hendford Drive, Pollard Park, Bradford, worked in the IT Department at Leeds City Council and drove an Audi A3 with a personalised registration plate.
He placed an advert under a false name on the Gumtree internet site offering TVs for £600 each, or two for £1,000. Hasan then lured buyers to a car park near his home where an armed gang lay in wait to rob them.
Men who fell into his trap were menaced by a gang wielding an array of makeshift weapons, including a garden fork, a spade, an iron bar, a chain and batons.
Hasan, who was 18 at the time, might have craved excitement from his “rather dull” life, his barrister Andrew Dallas said.
He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery late on June 20 last year and robbery, shortly after midnight, on June 21.
Prosecutor Simon Haring said Hasan’s first victims, father and son Harmesh and Sandeep Lal, of Gravesend, Kent, drove to Bradford after seeing Hasan’s advert, placed using the name of a work colleague, After Hasan had opened the boot of his car, they were menaced by the robbery gang.
But Sandeep armed himself with a spanner and they escaped in their van.
As they fled, Hasan smashed a window with a metal bar.
The second victims, Adnan Khan and his cousin Wajid Hussain, of Manchester, were robbed of their £6,000 Volkswagen Golf, £200 in cash and an iPhone.
Mr Haring said Hasan and three other men were in the Audi and four men in a Ford Focus blocked the car park exit.
Mr Khan was grabbed in a headlock and pulled from his car. His ignition keys, £150 in cash and phone were snatched.
Mr Hussain was attacked and robbed of up to £50.
Mr Dallas said Hasan was an intelligent man from a good home who “went off the rails”.
He had lost his fiancee because she was “disgusted” by what he had done.
The judge, Recorder Michael Smith, said Hasan played an active role in a planned crime.
After the case, Detective Constable Louise Matthews, of Bradford South CID, said: “Hassan utilised the internet to lure his victims into a situation where they could be individually targeted. This was clearly a pre-planned endeavour which posed serious threat to those who became engaged in his dealings. Following a meticulous investigation into his calls and online activity, we have been able to bring about this considerable sentence.”