Armed robbers responsible for firing metal pellets into the face of a shopworker have been jailed for a total of 20 years.

Faustas Demidovas and Vaidas Jankauskas carried out two armed robberies in Dartford and Strood, using "excessive and brazen force to steal money," Kent Police said.

They targeted a newsagent in February 2020 and left with less than £200 after shooting a member of staff in the face with a BB gun.

Jankauskas admitted his role in the offence but Demidovas pleaded not guilty. He also denied committing a second armed robbery which took place in Dartford during the same month. 

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He was found guilty following a trial at Woolwich Crown Court, which concluded on Wednesday 21 April 2021. 

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Both offenders were part of a group of men who targeted a newsagent in Bligh Way, Strood, shortly before 11pm on 21 February.

During the incident, Demidovas fired three pellets into the victim’s face before an accomplice reached over the counter and removed money from the till. 

The victim sustained facial injuries which required hospital treatment.

Although the robbery was clearly captured on CCTV, all of the offenders involved had their faces covered.

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Officers were however able to establish that they had left the scene in a Citroen C3 and a blue BMW.

Around 45 minutes after the offence, both vehicles were captured on CCTV at a petrol station in Pelham Road South, Gravesend.

Demidovas, who had changed clothes since the offence had taken place, arrived in the BMW and the same car was stopped by the Metropolitan Police in Hillingdon, London, several hours later.

Demidovas was subsequently detained and has been held on remand since.

Footage from the forecourt also showed Jankauskas, whose face was now visible, wearing the same clothing he had worn during the robbery. He was also recorded driving the Citroen, despite being banned from doing so until July 2023.

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He was detained in early March after Kent Police identified him and carried out a warrant at his home.

Demidovas also committed an armed robbery against a newsagent in East Hill, Dartford, a week earlier and was identified from the shop’s security footage.

On this occasion he was one of two men who entered the store and ushered a customer away from the till before threatening the shop worker a replica firearm.

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As the employee was opening their till, Demidovas then fired at the ceiling before a small quantity of cash was handed over.

Demidovas, 30, of Black Eagle Drive, Northfleet, was found guilty of two counts of robbery, two counts of possessing an imitation firearm to commit an indictable offence and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

He was sentenced to 13 years at Woolwich Crown Court on 21 April 2021.

Jankauskas, 30, of Kitchener Avenue, Gravesend, admitted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.

He also admitted driving while disqualified, and without insurance, and was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court to seven years and nine months on 10 September 2020.

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Detective Constable Rob Sircar, Kent Police’s investigating officer for the case, said: "Jankauskas and Demidovas each used excessive and brazen violence to steal money.

"The victims had every reason to believe the weapons being pointed at them were real guns and one of them had to go through the trauma of having it used against them. 

"‘Both offenders are a very clear danger to the public and I am pleased that this has been reflected by the sentences imposed."

A further four men were arrested on suspicion of the Strood offence before being released without charge.

Anyone with information that can identify an outstanding offender is asked to contact Kent Police on 01474 366149 quoting 46/33484/20.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111 or using the anonymous online form available via this link.