Members of an organised crime network responsible for a linked series of armed robberies across London and the south of England have been jailed.
Four men were sentenced to over 70 years’ imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday, 1 October, following an investigation led by the Met’s Flying Squad.
Between January and December 2018, the group were involved in 22 armed robberies and two attempted robberies. The gang targeted Co-Operative and One Stop stores, using knives and guns to threaten staff before tying them up and stealing large quantities of cash, tobacco and alcohol.
In addition to targeting stores in London and the south-east, the gang carried out raids in Bristol on 16 April and 14 July, in Bicester on 17 June, in Rugby on 4 November, in Towcester on 26 November and in Leighton Buzzard on 9 December.
During their 12-month crime spree, the gang stole more than £100,000 in cash and alcohol and tobacco worth £15,000 from the stores.
Shane Wilson, 40, (19/06/1979) of Solon New Road Estate, SW4 pleaded guilty on 21 March to 24 counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment.
Clleon Smith, 32, (06/04/1987) of London Road, Croydon pleaded guilty on 15 March to 11 counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months’ imprisonment.
Joel Rene Derriviere, 45, (13/06/1974) of Hicken Road, Lambeth SW2 pleaded guilty on 1 April to ten counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.
Samuel Kenneth Bernard, 56, (20/11/1962) of Gosling Way, SW9 was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to commit robbery following a three-week long trial. He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.
Officers from the Met’s Flying Squad launched an investigation into the gang in October 2018.
CCTV and surveillance enquiries linked the organised gang to 24 offences carried out across the year.
On 13 December 2018, the investigation culminated in a series of arrests in Hungerford just prior to a planned robbery
Officers observed three of the men travel from Brixton to Fairview Road in Hungerford in a silver Vauxhall. The trio were seen parked up and observing a One Stop shop as it was about to open for the day.
Officers intercepted and apprehended Shane Wilson, Clleon Smith, and Ken Bernard at approximately 0500hrs.
They were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery and taken into custody at a south London police station.
A police search of the silver Vauxhall identified a black handgun, recovered from the rear offside footwell, a balaclava worn by Wilson, a black rucksack and a tool knife.
Further investigation, including forensics and phone work, linked Joel Derriviere to the offences. He was arrested later that day at his home address.
All four men were charged on 14 December 2018.
The investigating officer Detective Constable William Man said: “These prolific gang members terrified shop workers across the country in order to steal cash.
“They are dangerous individuals who threatened victims with knives and guns throughout their brazen crime spree.
“I hope the victims, and the wider public, feel reassured that these violent offenders have been taken off the streets and will now serve lengthy sentences behind bars.
"I also hope the sentences act as a deterrent to those involved in this type of criminality. We will continue to bear down on violent crime and we will work night and day to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice.”
The presiding judge, HH Judge Holt, praised the victims, saying they were a credit to the companies they worked for. She added: “In extreme circumstances, the victims exhibited considerable fortitude and bravery.”