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Two Brunel University students jailed for robbing Carphone Warehouse in Stanmore
Robbers who planned an inside job at a mobile phone store have been jailed.
Hamza El-Yamlahi, 21, of Oliphant Street in Westminster, and Hesham El-Blak, 21, of Severn Avenue, Queen's Park, admitted conspiracy to commit robbery at Carphone Warehouse in Stanmore last November.
The Brunel University students were each jailed for two and a half years at Harrow Crown Court on Tuesday for the robbery at the store in The Broadway, where El-Blak worked.
At first it looked like El-Blak was the victim of the robbery on November 3 last year, which took place after he arrived at his part time job.
Having parked behind the shop, he was approached by a man who forced him to the back door and made him call a colleague inside to gain access.
Once inside, the robber threatened El-Blak's co-worker with a knife and forced him to lie on the floor before making his way to the toilets where he covered his face.
A short time later, El-Blak appeared to lunge at the intruder before being pushed against the rear door, which was flung open.
But rather than fleeing to find help, he immediately closed the door.
At this point, the robber demanded the keys from the co-worker before repeatedly kicking him.
He then opened the safe, and with the assistance of El-Blak, removed a number of boxed mobile phones which he placed in two holdalls.
The robber then left through the back door and at this point the police were called.
In an investigation by the Flying Squad at Finchley, a review of the shop's CCTV showed that the thief appeared to target the co-worker rather than El-Blak, even though he was larger and less resistant.
An eye-witness also reported seeing El-Blak speaking to the robber behind the shop.
The thief's DNA was recovered from duct tape left in the shop and forensic examination matched it to El-Yamlahi, who was also recognisable from the shop's CCTV.
Further investigations established that Mr El-Blak and Mr El-Yamlahi were close associates and attended the same university.
El-Blak never named a suspect during his dealings with police.
On 21, November 2012 detectives from the Flying Squad executed search warrants at both men's addresses.
El-Blak was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and El-Yamlahi was arrested and charged two days later.