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Steamer' gang jailed 44 years after two year reign of terror'

PUBLISHED: 16:51 01 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 05 October 2010

A GANG of 11 "prolific robbers" are spending a total of 44 years behind bars for a string of robberies at betting shops and amusement arcades during a two-year rein of terror across London. They were caught by chance by the Flying Squad when a passer-by noted part of a registration used as a getaway car in a raid which led to one of the gang members

By Mike Brooke

A GANG of 11 “prolific robbers” are spending a total of 44 years behind bars for a string of robberies at betting shops and amusement arcades during a two-year rein of terror across London.

They were caught by chance by the Flying Squad when a passer-by noted part of a registration on a car used as a getaway’ in a raid which led to one of the gang members.

They identified several gang members and kept secret surveillance on them—then moved in.

The gang put their hands up to 72 raids when they entered a total of 107 individual guilty pleas in court.

BOOKIES RAIDED

The raids included 10 on Coral’s and William Hill’s bookies in East London last year, in Poplar High Street, Columbia Road in Bethnal Green, Whitechapel Road in Whitechapel, Portway in West Ham, Morning Lane in Hackney, Well Street in South Hackney, King Henry’s Walk and Southgate Road in Dalston and Leytonstone High Road.

Another 64 robberies were carried out by the gang across London, from Edmonton in the north, Acton in the west and Deptford and Wandsworth in the south.

They worked in teams of four on each raid, rushing or steaming’ into the premises with their faces hidden with hoods and scarves.

One would act as a look out’ preventing the public getting in or leaving, while accomplices would bust the gaming machines with crowbars and screwdrivers to get the cash, which netted the gang £135,700 in total.

IN FEAR

“This gang of prolific robbers used intimidation to carry out their crimes,” said the Flying Squad’s Det Chief Ins Pam Mace.

“They were motivated by greed, damaging property and causing distress for a relatively small amount of cash when split between the group.”

Among those jailed at Kingston crown court on Friday was 31-year-old Jason Graham, from Groombridge Road in Hackney Wick, East London, who got three years and nine months after admitting three of the robberies, two thefts and an attempted theft. The others jailed with him were all from south London.

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