Jailed: Smash-and-grab perfume raiders get 18 years between them

Alfie Atherton from Bow (left) and accomplice Reed Roberts from Clerkenwell

Alfie Atherton from Bow (left) and accomplice Reed Roberts from Clerkenwell jailed for smash-and-grab raids - Credit: Met police

A “smash and grab” raider from Tower Hamlets who snatched £40,000 in cash and perfume in a series of West End robberies with an accomplice has been jailed for 10 and a half years. 

Alfie Atherton, a 29-year-old from Saxon Road in Bow, threatened a security guard with a Rambo knife, rammed stores with a motorbike and smashed their windows with concrete blocks. 

Robbery in progress... the moment a security guard reverses van into gang's motorbikes and foils raid

Robbery in progress... the moment a security guard reverses van into gang's motorbikes and foils raid, caught on CCTV - Credit: Met Police

Atherton was sentenced on Friday, March 26, at Snaresbrook Crown Court along with 30-year-old Reed Roberts from Clerkenwell, who got seven-and-a-half years.  

Atherton pleaded guilty to robbery, attempted burglary and possessing a bladed article in public, while Roberts admitted two robberies. 

The pair were arrested by the Met’s Flying Squad after detectives watched CCTV footage from robberies by motorbike raiders in Clerkenwell  Road, Oxford Street and New Bond Street. 

“They caused chaos in the West End,” Det Con Lenny O’Keeffe said. “Atherton and Roberts threatened violence to steal cash and goods. Atherton caused £45,000 of damage at two stores.” 

A cash transit van was held up in February last year, with the driver attacked by a masked raider in a motorcycle helmet and robbed of £22,000. 

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The raider jumped onto a waiting bike and sped off. A cash box which had been cut open with an angle-grinder was dumped in a street nearby.

Detectives later linked the pair to a “smash and grab” raid three days earlier near Oxford Street when a concrete slab was hurled through a department store window.

Atherton was seen climbing through and filling a large rubble sack with £20,000 of perfume and aftershave and threatening a store security guard with a  Rambo-style knife before making his getaway along Carnaby Street. 

Knife that Atherton threatened security guard with in raid on West End store

Knife that Atherton threatened security guard with in raid on West End store - Credit: Met Police

The Flying Squad also linked Atherton to two attempted raids on designer stores in New Bond Street the following month.

The window of one store was smashed with a concrete block, but the gang fled when a security guard reversed his vehicle into one of their bikes. 

Detectives arrested Atherton at his home in Saxon Road, off Roman Road Market, and Roberts at his address in Compton Passage in Clerkenwell, where cutting disks used in angle grinders was found in the boot of his car.  

Atherton was forensically linked to one of those cutting disks, as well as on the cash box from the Clerkenwell heist, a concrete block used in New Oxford Street and the knife dumped in Carnaby Street. 

Both had previous convictions for “`smash and grab” robberies in the West End.