Lorry driver relives terrifying hijack ordeal in court

First published in Local

THE driver of a cash truck carrying £435,000 has relived his traumatic ordeal as he was driven through the streets of Alvechurch after robbers grabbed him at a service station.

The robbers tailed the mobile cashpoint lorry to the Hopwood Service Station on the M42 on August 15 last year as it made its way to the V Festival in Stafford carrying money for festival-goers, Worcester Crown Court heard.

The five men were in a black Audi RS6, a VW Transporter van and a Ford Transit as they followed driver Ian Dewsbury from the Cash On The Move depot in Oxfordshire along the M40 and M42 until he stopped for lunch at Hopwood at 12.30pm, Gerard Quirke, prosecuting, told a jury.

He returned to the truck and was approached by two men wearing ski masks and with hoods up. They grabbed him and he fell to the floor. His glasses fell off as they dragged him to the back of the Audi and bundled him in head first.

Mr Dewsbury told the court they swore and demanded the keys and he told them he had dropped them on the floor.

"I was panicking and shaking," he said. "I wanted to do whatever they said. I didn't want to get hurt."

One man got out and got the truck keys while the driver was held down on the back seat before the Audi was driven off. The robbers demanded he give them the codes to the safe containing the cash and one of the men relayed instructions on a mobile phone to another member of the gang back in the truck.

Mr Dewsbury said he was sick in the back of the car from the harsh braking and reversing as the men tried to find their rendezvous with the truck along twisting roads. At one point, he said, he heard one of the men say "We're driving through Alvechurch town centre, turn around, turn around."

They stopped to ask a passer-by for directions while he was told to keep his head down and stay quiet. One of the men then suggested using a satnav but the other said he didn't know how to work it.

The car met up with the truck in a field, Mr Dewsbury said. He was ordered to get out and help the gang load up the cash in the car. Then one of them put his thumb up and said, "Cheers, mate" and he was locked in the back of the truck, he told the jury. He got out and stopped a passing motorist who called police.

Leon Brown, aged 37, of Wellersley Gardens, Birmingham, is on trial for robbery. The prosecution alleges he was the gang member holding Mr Dewsbury down in the back of the Audi but he denies any part in the raid. Three men have pleaded guilty and one has not been found, Mr Quirke told the court.

A police helicopter followed the Audi to Birmingham and the jury was shown footage from it with the crew shouting "we've got runners" as the car stopped and the doors opened. Clothing with Brown's DNA was found in a wheelie bin at the back of some houses along with items from one of the men who has pleaded guilty, Mr Quirke said.

Brown was picked up in a spot check by police as he walked along a street later in the afternoon.

Mr Quirke said none of the screen footage has provided any positive identification. Mr Dewsbury, from Birmingham, said he could not see clearly without his glasses and could not identify the masked men.

The trial continues.

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