Manor Park man was getaway driver for bingo hall robbers

A bingo hall security guard who helped a gang of armed robbers to steal �44,000 has been jailed for 11 years.

Muhammed Mukungu, 33, of Wightman Road, Wood Green, let two masked raiders hide in the building in Enfield, before finishing his shift.

Armed with a gun and a crowbar, the robbers stayed overnight before grabbing treasurer Carol Bryce when she arrived for work on May 31, last year.

The terrified worker had a gun held to her head as she was ordered to open fruit machines and a safe before being tied up so the gang could escape.

Mukungu, a Ugandan national whose claim for asylum was last year granted, later used a false passport to get employed by another security firm even after his arrest for the bingo heist.

He was convicted alongside getaway driver Damien Latchman, 27, of Star House, Snowshill Road, Manor Park, of conspiracy to commit robbery following an eight-day trial at the Old Bailey. Both denied the charges.

The two robbers, whose identities are unknown, are still at large.

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Jailing Latchman for nine years, Judge Brian Barker QC said both men had been drawn to take part in the plot by the lure of “very easy money”.

Turning to Mukungu, he said: “Without your inside information and help, this crime would not have been possible. This was and is, a gross breach of trust.

“This was a deliberate and calculating crime and must be punished severely.”

He added that the robbers had put Ms Bryce through a “terrifying ordeal”. “The consequences have been overwhelming and her life has been turned upside down,” he said. “I can only hope that the psychological aspect will diminish, although it will take a long time to do so.”

Tom Wilkins, prosecuting, told the court the Gala Bingo hall’s entire weekend takings –around �44,000 – were still on the premises when the raiders emerged from their hiding places.

“They wore scarves and gloves so there was no forensic evidence and their faces were covered,” he said.

“Ms Bryce was forced to go to the treasury to unlock the safe and then the fruit machines in the lobby.”

“One had something that to her looked like a gun and the other had a crowbar. Her mobile phone was taken. They then tied her with cable ties to furniture in the staff room.”

“That is where she was found when a security guard arrived at 8am.”