Four masked armed robbers who targeted convenience stores and betting shops across Bucks with weapons including knives and axes have been convicted.

In a crime spree that started on October 6, 2018, and March 18, 2019, betting shops in High Street, Chalfont St Peter and High Street, Chesham, were robbed, as were convenience stores on The Green in Wooburn Green and in Penn.

Justin Stockbridge, 45, of Owens Way, Rickmansworth and Jamie Owen, 32, of Croft End Road, Chipperfield, were sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday (March 24).

They were found guilty following a trial at the same court on Friday, March 20.

Owen, who was found guilty of three counts of robbery and one count of possession of a Taser used in a robbery, was sentenced to 14 years’ behind bars.

Stockbridge, who was found guilty of one count of robbery, was given seven years’ in jail.

Richard Mazzuccato, 34, of Mill End, Rickmansworth, pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery at the same court on August 27 last year and he will be sentenced on April 28.

Meanwhile, Paul Evans, 27, of no fixed address, has previously pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery and was jailed for 11 years and one month.

The court heard that during the string of robberies across London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Surrey, the method for all the crimes was similar - with masked robbers armed with weapons, including knives and axes.

All the attacks took place under the cover of darkness – either late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Evans was identified as a suspect in the earlier robberies by Hertfordshire Police and was arrested and charged on December 4, 2018.

Detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad began an investigation into the robberies to trace the outstanding suspects and identified Owen, Stockbridge and Mazzucatto as the main offenders.

They were identified through a range of enquiries including Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), cell site phone data analysis, forensics and CCTV, which placed them at the crime scenes.

CCTV footage that captured a robbery at a betting shop in High Street, Chesham on December 27, 2018, at about 9.30pm captured the masked suspect’s forearm as he threatened a member of staff with a knife.

There was a distinctive tattoo on the forearm, which was identified as being identical to a tattoo on Stockbridge’s forearm, linking him to the crime.

Detectives continued with their enquiries and evidence pointed to Mazzuccato as being involved in the latter robberies.

On April 4, 2019, Stockbridge was arrested while driving a van outside a convenience store in New Road, Croxley Green, which had also previously been targeted.

The van he was driving was linked to the last robbery in the series where a convenience store was targeted in Penn on March 18.

Stockbridge replied no comment to all questions put to him during his police interview.

Mazzuccato also denied any knowledge of the offences during his police interview.

The court heard that both men are habitual drug users, with Mazzuccato claiming to have a £100 a day crack cocaine habit.

Detectives continued carrying out enquiries to identify the outstanding suspect from the earlier robberies – which finally led to Owen being identified and charged.

The jury heard that Owen had been imprisoned on February 19 last year and was given a four-month sentence for possession of a machete, which explained why he had stopped offending.

Detective Sergeant Tim Fines, from Flying Squad, said: “I have no doubt that these suspects would have continued committing this horrific spate of robberies if they had not been identified and arrested.

“All of the robberies were terrifying ordeals for the victims – thankfully none of them suffered serious injuries during the attacks.

“These suspects were not afraid to use violence, often just for small amounts of cash. I am pleased that the jury agreed with the overwhelming evidence we built against the suspects and chose to convict them.

“I hope the sentences handed down will act as a deterrent to those thinking of carrying out such violent crimes.

“I would like to thank our colleagues from Hertfordshire, Sussex, Surrey and Thames Valley constabularies for their contribution to this investigation and continued assistance throughout the trial.”

The full list of robberies:

October 6, 2018: Owens Way, Croxley Green, Herts – robbery of a taxi driver.

October 7, 2018: Church Lane, Sarratt, Herts – robbery of a taxi driver

October 26, 2018: Penrose Court, Egham, Surrey – robbery of a taxi driver

November 3, 2018: New Road, Croxley Green, Herts – robbery of a convenience store

December 27, 2018: High Street, Chesham, Bucks - robbery of a betting shop

February 15, 2019: High Street, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks – robbery of a betting shop

February 18, 2019: High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts – robbery of a betting shop

February 23, 2019: The Green, Wooburn Green, Bucks – robbery of a convenience store

March 18, 2019: Penn, Bucks – robbery of a convenience store