A violent Southwark gang who used knives, hammers and concrete blocks to steal over £500,000 in shop raids are due to be sentenced after seven men were convicted in two separate trials.
Three men, from Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, were convicted of conspiracy to rob eight jewellery shops and money transfer exchanges in Southwark, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Kensington and Chelsea, City of London, Kent and Manchester.
A number of the gang were also convicted of conspiracy to rob a jewellers in Tower Hill following a separate trial.
Thomas O’Connor, 23, of Swan Lane, Rotherhithe, Conor Gartland, 18, of Druid Street, Bermondsey and Alex Parle, 22, of Adams Garden Estate, Rotherhithe used concrete blocks and hammers to smash through shop windows and cash desk partitions between February 2014 and January 2015.
They threatened staff with hammers and a machete, stealing cash and watches before making off on stolen motorbikes and mopeds.
City of London Police have released footage of one of the incidents in Liverpool Street in which the three men robbed a jewellery shop. The shop manager tried to stop Parle from getting away by jumping on his back, at which point Parle pulled out a machete. Police arrested him nearby after he ran off.
Detectives were able to link the offences and identify the culprits by pursuing various lines of enquiry, including forensic analysis of evidence left behind by the gang, including helmets, a lighter and a knife.
They will be sentenced on 15 December at the Old Bailey.
Gary O’Brien, 22, of Brunel Road, Rotherhithe, Michael Ogun, 22, of Poppy Drive, Enfield, Jamie Hull, 21, of Tranton Road, Bermondsey, O’Connor and a 17-year-old were separately convicted of conspiracy to rob a jewellers in Tower Hill.
The five men raided Attenborough Jewellers in Bethnal Green Road on 8 October 2014.
They used a hammer to smash through the window and stole watches and other jewellery from the displays before driving off in getaway cars. Local officers stopped one of the vehicles and arrested the occupants – O’Brien, Ogun and the 17-year-old – for robbery.
Detectives then analysed evidence and were able to prove that O’Connor and Hull had also been involved in the robbery. They were subsequently arrested for this matter.
They will be sentenced on 20 November at Woolwich Crown Court.
Detective Inspector Nick Blackburn of the Flying Squad said: “O’Connor and his criminal fraternity committed alarmingly violent robberies from the north to the south of England, but through collaborative working, the Flying Squad, City of London Police and Greater Manchester Police were able to make the connection and secure convictions.
“These men terrified shop employees, using weapons, aggression and threats in order to get jewellery and cash. There was a display of sheer courage and determination when one of the employees attempted to stop the robbers getting away, but many of the victims now live in fear of another attack.
“I hope that other robbery gangs will look at this case as an example of how police services across the country will work together to ensure they face justice.”