A robber armed with an imitation firearm who targeted seven petrol stations in Ruislip and surrounding areas during a two-month period has been sentenced to nine years in jail.
Reece Whelan, 21, of Arnold Road, Northolt, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Monday, February 26 after he pleaded guilty to six charges of robbery, one attempted robbery and seven charges of possessing an imitation firearm.
The court heard Whelan carried out a series of robberies at BP, Shell, Asda and Esso petrol stations in Ruislip, Northolt and Harrow between March 29 and May 18, 2017.
On each occasion, Whelan armed himself with a BB gun, which had been sprayed black to make it look like a real handgun, and demanded money from staff.
During two of the robberies, Whelan used violence to steal cash by pistol-whipping the cashiers with the gun after they initially refused to hand over money.
In total, Whelan stole £2,300 as a result of the six robberies.
Detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad identified Whelan as the result of a proactive investigation, which linked him to the series of robberies.
Whelan was arrested at his home address on July 4, 2017 and a search of his bedroom resulted in the seizure of the BB gun used in the offences.
During the sixth offence, a piece of the gun had broken off and was recovered from the scene. The BB gun recovered from Whelan’s address had the same piece missing.
Whelan pleaded guilty to all 14 offences at Kingston Crown Court on November 29.
Detective Constable Alan Mears, of the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “Whelan is a violent criminal who used threats and violence to steal cash from petrol stations. He was committing offences at a rate of almost one a week so it was important he was caught as soon as possible.”