Four moped enabled, modern-day bandits who stole mobile phones, committed robberies and targeted luxury shops have been convicted of multiple crimes at Blackfriars Crown Court.
This is a result of extensive work by officers in the Met’s Operation Vocare, working alongside officers from the Flying Squad.
Miguel St Martin, 21, Alfie Warry, 21, Harry Doyle, 18, and Reece Salmon, 20, were all guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery. Prior to this Henry Histon, 18, plus two 17-year-old boys and a 16-year-old boy were found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery. All eight are due to be sentenced.
Operation Vocare was set up to target a moped gang in Islington, who had robbed three mobile phone shops in 2016. After that investigation, 13 members of the gang were convicted between August 2017 and October 2018.
The gang drew the Met’s attention again after it was discovered they were using a garage in Islington to store the proceeds of their crimes. The police found several stolen phones, the handle from a broken zombie knife and a replica firearm.
Recovered phone footage showed the suspects stealing a moped in broad daylight and threatening a security guard with a large knife. During the evidence gathering, St Martin, Doyle, Histon and three others attempted to rob a jewellery shop in London, armed with axes and samurai swords.
Three of the suspects travelled there in a stolen Land Rover, which they used to ram the shop. A passer-by grabbed one of the defendants but he was set upon by the gang, receiving multiple stab wounds.
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They then fled the scene on unregistered mopeds they had parked nearby the night before. One of the defendants was tracked to a hotel room, where he was found with a zombie knife, four stolen phones and two stolen handbags worth £10,000. CCTV from the hotel enabled the police to identify the rest of the gang, who were subsequently arrested.
Detective Sergeant Danny Watts of Operation Vocare, said: "These gang members were big operators in north and central London. However, we secured a number of significant convictions and they have been taken off the streets."
Flying Squad Detective Constable Phelim Redmond added: "This was a brazen attempt to rob [a jewellery shop] and a vicious attack on a member of the public. It is only by sheer good fortune that having been set upon by four men with axes and swords that he did not sustain more serious injuries."