Former policeman jailed over robbery

IN just two years former successful Tweed publican and ex-cop Wayne Duckworth fell from life at the top to violently robbing a pub.

In November 2005 Duckworth's career was on the up-and-up.

He was licensee of both the Coolangatta Sands Hotel and the Imperial at Murwillumbah.

At the time he told the Daily News he was looking forward to more hotel acquisitions by the business syndicate of which he was a member.

Soon after his hopes fell apart.

He split with his business partners and in June 2006 while working at the Nimbin Hotel he was allegedly abducted by an armed robber and dumped near Uki.

Within months Duckworth was following his own life of crime.

Yesterday he was jailed, along with another former NSW anti-theft squad police officer, for committing a violent armed robbery at a Queensland tavern that netted more than $60,000.

Duckworth, 47, who served with the NSW police force for 17 years, and fellow former officer Brett Terence Gale, 44, of Sandgate in Brisbane's north, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to one count each of robbery in company with personal violence.

Justice Kerry O'Brien described the heist in the early hours of No-vember 5 last year ? in which a balaclava-clad Gale and Duckworth, wielding a bike pump and metal bar respectively, robbed the Park Ridge Tavern, south of Brisbane ? as "a serious example of its type".

Gale forced a female employee to the ground and held the metal bar to her head, while Duckworth taped another's hands together.

A male tavern employee, whose hands were also bound, allegedly plotted the robbery with Gale, who then recruited Duckworth.

The employee allegedly turned off an illuminated XXXX beer sign outside the tavern to signal to the pair that the alarm had been switched off and security guards had left.

Justice O'Brien sentenced both men to four years jail, but suspended Gale's sentence after 12 months and Duckworth's after 10 months.

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