A trio of armed robbers who slashed bank staff’s faces during an “audacious” heist in Tower Hamlets have been jailed. for a total of 26 years.

Tariq Ahmed, 22, Mohammed Khan, 19, and Junaid Hassan, 24, burst into the Commercial Road branch of Lloyds brandishing knives and a claw hammer.

Two of the masked men confronted the terrified staff and demanded they hand over cash while the third stood guard at the entrance to the Shadwell bank.

They violently attacked a female employee, holding knives to her throat, forcing her to the floor and slashing her face. They also stabbed a male employee in the face during the raid on Wednesday, March 9.

JAILED: Junaid Hassan

Having failed to get to the cash the desperate trio grabbed a quantity of Lloyds Bank correspondence and sped off in Khan’s black BMW whose number plate had been tampered with to make an ‘L’ look like an ‘E’.

They were chased down by police a short distance from the crime scene and arrested after being caught red-handed with clothing and knife packaging which tied them to the robbery.

Police found the knives and other weapons dumped in a street bin and later identified the supermarket where Khan had bought them on the morning of the robbery.

All three men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and were sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday, August 12.

JAILED: Mohammed Khan

Ahmed, of Vesey Path, Tower Hamlets and Junaid Hassan of Saracen Street, Tower Hamlets were both jailed for nine years. Mohammed Khan of Mackrow Walk, Tower Hamlets was jailed for eight years.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Brad Weston of the Flying Squad, said: “This was an audacious armed robbery and a terrifying ordeal for staff at the bank, two of whom sustained facial knife injuries.

“Thanks to the swift action of both the bank staff and the police, the men were quickly apprehended and identified as the culprits.

“The sentences handed down reflect the seriousness of the offence and will hopefully act as a deterrent to others intent on committing such abhorrent crimes.”

the website.

Follow The Wharf on Twitter @the_wharf .

Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook .