Two robbers, who held up security vans with sawn-off shotguns in a string of raids across the country, have been jailed.

Nicholas Wordsworth, 43, of Enfield and Mustafa Murteza, 48, of Tollington Road, Islington, were sentenced to life imprisonments at Kingston Crown Court on Friday February 10.

The duo stole cash boxes by threatening security guards with their weapons at seven armed cash-in-transit robberies carried out across London, Essex, Kent, Sussex, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.

They disguised themselves by wearing dark clothing and face coverings, and setting alight to the getaway vehicle after each incident.

The suspects were arrested in Sandy, Bedfordshire after an investigation by the Met’s Flying Squad with support from other police forces on November 18 2016.

The pair were stopped by police with support from armed forces in a Honda Accord with false registration plates, carrying an arsenal of weapons.

The car contained a loaded sawn-off shotgun, a gas-powered revolver, several rounds of ammunition, a stun-gun, a bullet proof vest, large hunting knife, masks and full can of petrol.

Wordsworth was ordered to serve a minimum term of seven years and nine months, while Murteza was ordered to serve a minimum term of seven years and five months, the Met said.

Detective Inspector Mark Bedford, from the Met's Flying Squad, said: "These were well-planned, violent armed robberies during which both Wordsworth and Murteza terrorised security guards, as well as members of the public going about their daily business, and left them fearing for their lives.

"In my view, it was only through luck and good fortune that nobody was seriously injured or worse.

"This has been a lengthy and complex investigation spanning the south-east of England.

“It was only through the meticulous work of officers from the Flying Squad supported by colleagues from the Met's Specialist Firearms Command, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, TVP and Sussex police forces which ensured these individuals are no longer free to continue committing these violent offences."