Three men have been jailed for a total of 11 years for stealing a cash box they failed to realise was empty, police revealed today.

Chanel Riscosa, 30, Nuaka Dimena, 29, and Basana Kimbembi, 31, were arrested on December 21 after a robbery outside Barclays Bank, on Beehive Lane, Gants Hill.

Following a delivery to the bank, a custodian was approached by Dimena and Kimbembi and the empty cash box was stolen after a struggle.

Riscosa drove the pair from Tillotson Road to Redbridge Lane East where they were spotted and pursued by police.

The car collided with two vehicles at Charlie Brown roundabout, Ilford, where Dimena and Kimbembi were immediately arrested.

Riscosa had already run from the car and was chased by police before jumping over a wall.

He was later found by police dogs hiding in a shed on the grounds of a school.

The empty cash box was recovered from the car hidden in a multi-coloured laundry bag next to a second bag containing a blow torch and a screwdriver.

Riscosa, of Wood Green, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on September 2 to four years and five months and disqualified for three years from driving.

Dimena, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to three years and nine months, while Kimbembi, also of no fixed abode, was sentenced on October 11 for three years.

Riscosa and Dimena gave no comment at police interviews and were charged with robbery on December 22.

Kimbembi was charged on Christmas Day following his release from hospital for a broken leg.