Masked robbers tied up disabled Calderdale man as they stole his £20,000 coin collection

Mark McCombe, of Talbot Close, Warrington, and Faley Rasmussen, of Fenwick Lane, Runcorn, jailed for six years.
Mark McCombe, of Talbot Close, Warrington, and Faley Rasmussen, of Fenwick Lane, Runcorn, jailed for six years.

A disabled man had his hands and ankles bound with cable ties after masked robbers smashed their way into his Calderdale home in order to steal his £20,000 coin collection.

A disabled man had his hands and ankles bound with cable ties after masked robbers smashed their way into his Calderdale home in order to steal his £20,000 coin collection.

The victim had built up the collection over more than a decade, but he was forced to hand over the coins when the two intruders forced their way into his flat in March.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the man woke to find Mark McCombe, who was wearing a balaclava, standing by his bed.

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Prosecutor Ken Green said McCombe, 35, tied the man’s hands and ankles and then demanded:”Where’s the gold?”

The victim pointed to the coin boxes, which included a Krugerrand worth £10,000, and McCombe put the haul into a bag.

Before leaving McCombe and his accomplice Faley Rasmussen, 33, hid the man’s mobile phone and disabled his landline.

As they left one of the men told the complainant:”Don’t get up. Nobody follows us for five minutes or I’ll put a bullet in your head.”

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Despite the threat the man managed to free himself and was able to see the pair leaving the scene in McCombe’s Ford Fiesta car which was later stopped by police in the Runcorn area.

In the car officers found empty coin boxes, cash and cable ties identical to the ones used on the victim.

McCombe was arrested and checks at nearby pawn shops revealed that Rasmussen had sold on some of the coins for almost £2,500.

When Rasmussen’s home was searched officers found the valuable Krugerand coin and a note giving directions to the victim’s flat.

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The court heard that a substantial part of the coin collection had been recovered by the police and their inquiries suggested that another man had also been involved in organising the robbery.

Mr Green confirmed that a third man had been arrested and interviewed but it had been decided there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute him.

No weapons had been used during the robbery, but the police subsequently found a lock knife in McCombe’s car and a “gas gun” at Rasmussen’s home.

McCombe, of Talbot Close, Warrington, and Rasmussen, of Fenwick Lane, Runcorn, both pleaded guilty to the robbery charge and they were each jailed for six years.

McCombe, who was already a banned driver, was also disqualified from driving again for six years.

In a victim impact statement the complainant described being “traumatised” by the incident and feeling very vulnerable in his own flat.

McCombe’s barrister Stephen Wood said his client and Rasmussen had not been the instigators behind the crime and they were not going to be the ultimate beneficiaries.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said the men had taken the victim’s “pride and joy”.

“What you did was come across from your area armed with balaclavas, a hood and scarf, directions and cable ties to subdue the victim,” the judge told the pair.

“The first thing he was aware of was the terrifying presence of you McCombe in a balaclava standing over him pulling the the duvet off and saying give me your hands.”

The judge said the duo had been “out of their league” and the plot unravelled because of the amateurish way the pair had carried out the robbery using McCombe’s car and Rasmussen’s account at the pawn shop.

“This is an exceptional case indeed and most of the aggravating features are ticked to put it bluntly,” said the judge.

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