Robber faces jail after holding up bookmakers with AK-47

An armed robber who held up a bookmakers and a bank in Tower Hamlets with an AK-47 assault rifle was jailed for seven years on Monday.

Mohammed Ali, of Maitland House of Bishop’s Way in Bow, was sentenced at the Old Bailey after he terrorised staff when robbing two premises in Bethnal Green at gunpoint in 2009.

Ali, 26, admitted targeting William Hill bookmakers in Cambridge Heath Road and a branch of Barclays in Bethnal Green Road, terrifying staff as he demanded they hand over cash.

In June 2009 he made off with �400 after entering the bookmakers with an accomplice, and in July that year he smashed his gun against the glass of a Barclays bank demanding money from petrified cashiers, but left empty-handed.

Investigating officer detective sergeant Neil Turner said the conviction was a testament to the “tenacity and commitment” of officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Barking Flying Squad who traced the man.

“We are pleased at today’s sentencing which means a very dangerous man is now behind bars”, he said. “Ali used a military weapon on the streets of London to commit armed robberies, terrifying his victims who were just trying to carry out their everyday business.”

After Ali was charged in February 2012, investigations showed that he had bought the deactivated weapon from a company in Wales. The gun has never been recovered.

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Accomplice Mohammed Ghaoui, of Wembley, was jailed for four years.