Two men have been jailed for taking part in an armed robbery at a Bradford petrol station, but a cashier who was accused of being part of the plot was cleared.

Former soldier Kane Harrison, 22, and 23-year-old Anthony Davey, were involved in a plot to steal £30,000 from the Shell garage in Canal Road, helped by a cashier who left canisters of cash lying about and the safe keys handy, Bradford Crown Court was told.

Harrison, of Abbotside Close, Thorpe Edge, Bradford, and Davey, of Moorside Road, Eccleshill, Bradford, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others unknown to steal from the petrol station.

Harrison also admitted assaulting a police officer with a baseball bat with intent to resist arrest. Harrison was jailed for two years and Davey for 20 months.

Prosecutor Rukhshanda Hussain told the court cashier Ateeqe Khan, 30, was the inside man on the plot, although he was cleared by the jury of conspiracy to steal.

He was working at the garage at 4.30am on August 4 last year when the two defendants and pulled up at the forecourt in an Audi 3. The trio, all wearing balaclava masks, bundled Khan into the staff quarters.

Police officers, who had been tipped off about a robbery, then intervened. One man escaped in the Audi but Harrison and Davey were apprehended after a struggle. Harrison hit an officer on the head with a baseball bat before he was overpowered.

Miss Hussain said that although £10,000 was missing from the takings, neither defendant or their accomplice had stolen it.

Both men told the police the cashier was part of a fake robbery plan, carefully staged at a time when the weekend’s takings were still in the safe.

Philip Ainge, solicitor advocate for Harrison, said: “This is an unusual case. It is really a robbery that never was.”

Harrison, who spent two and a half years in the armed forces, took part only because no one would be hurt, said Mr Ainge.

Anne-Marie Hutton, for Davey, said he too became involved because it was a fake robbery.

Both men had been in custody for 13 months.

Judge David Hatton QC said he was sentencing the men on the basis that Khan was involved in the plot, although the jury had decided there was insufficient evidence to convict him.

“It was not a robbery. It was never going to be a robbery because the garage attendant, Mr Khan, was in on it,” he said.