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Gang of cash-in-transit robbers who threatened custodians with crowbars jailed

News   •   Dec 21, 2018 15:57 GMT

Images: Left to right: Ishmael Baptiste, Richard Roberts, Samir Smith, Mohammed Adan and Michael Ashman

A gang of five men who carried out cash-in-transit robberies in south London over three years threatening custodians with crow bars have been jailed for a collective total of 57 years.

The group were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court today, Friday 21 December after being convicted of seven robbery offences following a proactive Flying Squad operation tackling organised crime networks in south London.

They were sentenced as follows:

Ishmael Baptiste, 28 (16.03.1990) of Cypress Road, SE25 was sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment for conspiracy to commit robbery including handling the proceeds of a cash in transit robbery and spending the proceeds of robberies.

Richard Roberts, 28 (19.11.1989) of Heathfield Drive, CR4 was sentenced to 12 years and six months' imprisonment for conspiracy to commit robbery including observing cash deliveries to commercial properties.

Samir Smith, 29 (04.10.1989) of Sylvan Hill, SE19 was sentenced to 13 years and six months' imprisonment for robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery including observing cash deliveries to commercial properties.

Mohammed Adan, 29 (01.05.1989) of Brixton Hill SW2 was sentenced to 12 years and two months' imprisonment for robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery including observing cash deliveries to commercial properties.

Michael Ashman, 29 (25.07.1989) of Stanthorpe Road, SW16 was sentenced to six years and two months' imprisonment for robbery.

The court heard how on Friday, 22 December 2017 Smith, Adan and Ashman entered the vicinity of Tesco Express, Croydon Road, Penge in a stolen cas with false number plates. They then committed a cash-in-transit robbery.

At approximately 08.40hrs, Ashman entered the premises and stole a cash box whilst Adan threatened the custodian with a crowbar.

Meanwhile, Smith acted as the getaway driver in a second stolen car and waited outside to help them immediately escape after the robbery was complete.

At this point, officers from the Met's Flying Squad intervened and after a short foot chase, Ashman and Adan were detained and arrested.

Smith managed to flee in a second stolen vehicle but officers pursued the car and he was subsequently arrested after exiting the vehicle in an attempt to evade police further on foot.

Covert surveillance since 2016 and CCTV enquiries carried out by the Flying Squad linked the five men to seven cash in transit robberies in south London since 2014.

Each time, the gang used stolen cars to target commercial supermarkets and steal cash boxes whilst using or threatening violence.

DCI Nick Blackburn from the Met's Flying Squad said: "These prolific robbers have been operating as an organised crime group for the past three years.

"The group meticulously planned each robbery and threatened the use of violence and weapons to ensure they were successful. Crowbars were frequently used to terrify custodians carrying out their everyday duties. Their intent to use violence was very real.

"The crime spree had a huge impact on the cash in transit industry and the communities of south London.

"I hope today's sentencing sends a clear message to anyone considering carrying out such crimes.

"We will continue to target those involved and bring them to justice."