Two Swindon men who robbed and then blackmailed another man from the town have been sent to prison.
During the evening of Friday 26 April 2019, Younis Sharif and Taylor Edwards visited the victim's home and used violence to gain entry to the property.
Following a search of his address they threatened to tell his employer that he smoked crack cocaine with a prostitute unless he gave them £2,000 within a few days and a further £3,000 over the following weeks. During their time in the property four watches and a dagger were taken from the address.
On Monday 29 April 2019 at the Holiday Inn, near junction 16 of the M4, the £2,000 cash ransom had been left in a yellow grit bin.
A 16-year-old boy was spotted taking the bag containing the money from the bin. Both the 16-year old boy and Edwards, who was found a short distance away, were stopped and arrested by plain clothes officers.
Sharif, who was not present at the collection of the cash, was identified and arrested at a later date.
At Swindon Crown Court on 15 January 2020, Taylor Edwards (24) from Sanders Close, Swindon was found guilty of blackmail but no verdict could be reached regarding a second charge of robbery.
Younis Sharif (24) from Semley Walk, Swindon pleaded guilty to both the blackmail and robbery offences on the 4 October 2019.
Today (11/02) at Swindon Crown Court, Younis Sharif was sentenced to four years and three months in jail; Taylor Edwards was given three years and four months.
Det Con Matt Harvey, who lead the investigation, said: "Both men's motive was to extort money from this vulnerable victim through a sophisticated blackmail, based on information received about him using drugs. Whilst at the address some of his valuables were taken and there was then a very clear demand for thousands of pounds in cash.
"I am pleased that Edwards has been found guilty of Blackmail, and that Sharif pleaded guilty prior to the commencement of a trial.
"Through good intelligence work and the help of the victim, who we thank for coming forward so quickly, officers managed to catch and arrest both men within days, and recovered the stolen property.
"My message to anyone who is threatened with blackmail is, do call the police immediately; as you can see in this case, we can put plans in place to arrest the blackmailer and bring them to justice."
Published on Tuesday 11 February 2020.