Three Leigh men who brought terror to the borough as they executed a four months long catalogue of robberies and burglaries have been jailed for a total of more than 25 years.
Christopher Molyneux, 26, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to nine years in prison on Tuesday. Stephen Grimshaw, 30, of Walnut Grove, Leigh, was sentenced to eight years and Mark Wohler, 28, of Bond Street, also Leigh, eight years, four months.
They had all pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
Molyneux, Grimshaw and Wohler committed dozens of armed robberies and burglaries across Wigan and into Cheshire between January 21 and April 12, 2012.
During the armed robberies two or three masked men would raid the businesses, brandishing weapons including machetes, knives and hammers.
They would threaten staff members, who, in fear for their lives, would hand over money and cigarettes to the offenders.
They also terrorised members of the community who were in fear of becoming victims of burglary. They stole cars and motorbikes worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, which they used to commit the armed robberies across the division.
Detective Constable Alison Wallwork from Wigan division, said: “These three men have been sentenced for their involvement in a series of robberies and burglaries and for anyone who was subjected to this sort of violent and terrifying robbery, they will understand why it is so important men like this are locked up where they can cause no more harm.
“Today’s result sends out a clear message that this type of crime will not be tolerated.
“The streets of Wigan and Cheshire are certainly a lot safer now these three criminals are behind bars.
“We are committed to safeguarding people from violent, career criminals who do not hesitate to use violence to achieve their aims.”