Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - KwaZulu-Natal police have on Friday welcomed the sentence handed down to the hijackers of British American Tobacco vehicles in Durban which was reported four years ago.

Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said Sphelele Goodman Nene, 23, Menzi Mlamuli Mweli, 30, Handsome Nyoko, 24, and Thembinkosi Mwelase, 23, were each sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for robbery, and five years for possession of stolen property by the Durban Regional Court.

Nene was further sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for possession of an unlicensed firearm and a further two years for possession of ammunition.

"On 4 November 2015, the victim was driving his British American Tobacco vehicle at Burlington Road in Chatsworth, when he was approached by a group of men who were travelling in a sedan," Zwane said.

"The accused threatened the victim with firearms and hijacked his vehicle. The accused men then loaded the boxes of cigarettes into their vehicle and fled the scene."

He said a case of hijacking was opened at Chatsworth police station for further investigation. Stations and Units around the Chatsworth area as well as Provincial Organised Crime Unit were alerted following the hijacking and the description of the vehicle used by suspects was given to them.

"The police officers spotted the hijacked vehicle at Marianhill and a shoot-out ensued. Four of the accused were arrested and a firearm used during the robbery was recovered. The hijacked vehicle and boxes of cigarettes were also recovered," said Zwane.

African News Agency (ANA)