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Rail steamer’ gang caught on CCTV get 23 years behind bars

PUBLISHED: 21:00 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:51 05 October 2010

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A GANG captured on CCTV camera terrorizing and robbing train passengers across East London have been sentenced to a total of 23 years behind bars. The steamer’ gang between them admitted as string of robbery and conspiracy charges over an eight month reign of terror on main line trains and the London Underground at locations including Liverpool Street, Walthamstow, Seven Sisters, Stoke Newington Fairlop and Loughton

The East London steamer’ gang caught on CCTV (above) in stations and on trains...

...and below, now behind bars, Gay (top left) with accomplices Flemming (top right), Williams (bottom left) and Lawrence (bottom right)

Mike Brooke

A GANG captured on CCTV camera terrorizing and robbing train passengers across East London have been sentenced to a total of 23 years behind bars.

The steamer’ gang between them admitted as string of robbery and conspiracy charges over an eight month reign of terror on main line trains and the London Underground.

They robbed passengers from April to November last year at locations including Liverpool Street, Walthamstow, Seven Sisters, Stoke Newington, Fairlop and Loughton.

Melvyn Gay, 27, from Walthamstow, the most prolific member of the gang, admitted nine robberies and was handed nine years’ jail.

His three 20-year-old accomplices were also behind bars tonight—Sheldon Williams from Clapton and Aaron Flemming from Hackney were each given four-and-a-half years, while Douglas Lawrence from Tottenham got five years.

Their victims—the youngest a 15-year-old girl at Walthamstow station—were put through terrifying ordeals by the gang who stole cash, jewelry, mobile phones, digital players and bank cards, Southwark Crown Court heard.

“They targeted men, women and even children,” said Det Con Jon Pine, from the East London robbery squad of British Transport Police.

“The gang thought they were a law unto themselves and had no concept of the trauma and fear of those they picked on—they behaved as if they would never be caught.

“But what they failed to recognise was they were often captured on CCTV on trains and at stations, which helped track them down and bring them to justice.”

The gang robbed five passengers on one day alone, April 13 last year, on three trains at Fairlop, Barkingside and Silver Street. One victim was slapped and held in a headlock before being punched in the face and head. Another was made to hand over his bank card and pin number—they later stole £200 from his account.

Detectives traced the gang after months of investigation involving sifting through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

They appealed on the BBC’s Crimewatch on January 24 and were inundated with calls giving names of gang members, which led to their arrests within two weeks.


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