North Yorkshire Police's Firearms Support United was on a routine patrol in Scarborough at around 2.15am on Monday March 7 when they spotted a silver Volkswagen Golf that had deliberately reversed, and rammed into, the front of the Spar shop on Falsgrave Road.
David Marsh, 50, and 42-year-old Martin Duffy, were in the process of loading stolen cigarettes and alcohol in large sand sacks into the back seat of the car – clad in balaclavas – when their plot was foiled by firearms officers who, incidentally, were driving past at the time of the burglary.
Officers used a taser to arrest the two suspects as they attempted to flee from the scene. They were both take into custody and later charged with burglary.
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Marsh, of no fixed address, and Duffy, of Scalby Road, were both sentenced today (May 26) at York Crown Court after pleading guilty to burglary.
Duffy was jailed for two years and Marsh received a 22-month prison sentence.
Damage to the shop front and its contents is estimated to cost more than £10,000.
Detective Sergeant David Adams, of Scarborough Investigation Hub, said: "I welcome the sentences handed to David Marsh and Martin Duffy.
"On the date of the offence, they used a car to cause a serious level of damage to the shop front at significant financial loss to the owners. Many residents rely on this shop, and they too were affected while it was closed to the public.
"Thankfully, our Firearms Support Unit colleagues caught the two of them in the act and swiftly arrested them. They protected the public and prevented further offences and damage to the store.
"I pay tribute to the bravery of the two police officers concerned, and also to the tenacity of the investigating officer, PC Charlotte White, who helped to secure the convictions and sentences in this case."
DS Adams added: "Marsh and Duffy showed a flagrant disregard for the wider public safety in their actions by effectively using the car as a battering ram. Both men now have time to reflect upon their dangerous and selfish actions in prison.
"This case sends a clear message that we will not let reckless and selfish criminal behaviour like this go without sanction and appropriate punishment. You will be put before the court and held accountable for your actions."
North Yorkshire Police Inspector Neil Drummond of the Firearms Support Unit, said: "The brave actions of the two Firearms Support Unit officers, together with a thorough investigation, has meant these dangerous offenders have been brought to justice.
"This is an example of the dangers our officers face on a daily basis, putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure the public of North Yorkshire are safe.
"I feel great pride in the actions taken on the night by my team and it is only right that both officers should be commended for their quick and decisive actions when faced with such violence."