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​Four members of organised criminal gang jailed for more than 40 years

News   •   Dec 21, 2020 08:00 GMT

[The four defendants]

Four members of an organised criminal gang were jailed at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday, 18 December, for a spate of robberies on security vans.

The career criminals were caught by officers from the Met’s Flying Squad under Operation Navarin, which was set up to tackle organised criminal networks. All were subsequently convicted of conspiracy to rob.

[A] Kieran Beazley, 33, (05.10.87) of St Kerverne Road, SE9 was sentenced to ten years and eight months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to rob, handling stolen goods and driving offences.

[B] Sam Holmes, 29, (23.01.91), of Queenscroft Road, Mottingham, SE9 was jailed for 11-and-a-half years.

[C] Sanchez Williams, 32, (26.08.88) of Exeter Way, New Cross, SE14 was jailed for seven years and eight months.

[D] David Leadbeater, 31, (01.11.89) of Plumstead Road, SE18 was jailed for ten years and eight months.

The gang used a variety of techniques to avoid detection including the wearing of masks and gloves. They also frequently used false number plates on stolen vehicles and switched phones as they went about organising raids on security vans outside post offices and other venues.

On Friday, 12 June, the gang was caught red-handed by undercover officers as they raided a security van outside New Eltham Post Office, on Footscray Road, SE9. They pulled up in a stolen vehicle and waited for the security van to arrive before Beazley, Holmes and Williams leapt out and sprinted towards the guard.

Beazley rugby tackled the guard throwing him to the floor and releasing the cash box. Beazley grabbed the box containing £28,000 before running back with the others to the van, where getaway driver David Leadbeater was waiting with the engine running.

Within seconds, the Flying Squad officers intervened and gave chase. The pursuit ended with the getaway van crashing into police vehicles. All four men struggled violently, but were arrested at the scene and the cash was recovered in the rear of the van.

Just eight days earlier on Thursday, 4 June, the gang had targeted the Co-Op store on Westwood Lane in Blackfen, DA15. The gang arrived again in a white Peugeot Partner van on false number plates before getting out and violently barging the guard into the railings at the front of the shop and stealing a cash box containing £12,500. The robber, thought to be Beazley, was challenged by a guard and a member of the public, and was thrown to the ground before fleeing empty handed.

On Wednesday, 4 March the robbers had attacked another post office this time on Court Road in Mottingham. The first robber, dressed all in black and thought to be Beazley, barged the guard and grabbed the cash box. Another criminal, thought to be Holmes, carried a distinctive blue and red handled screwdriver. The criminals sprinted off, driving away in a stolen Ranger Rover Evoque using cloned number plates, which was found abandoned by police a short time later. The screwdriver was recovered from the rear passenger footwall.

Beazley and Holmes were thought to have been involved in another robbery on a van outside a Mecca Bingo Hall, on Eltham Hill, SE9 on Monday, 17 February. They had used the white Range Rover Evoque which turned up later in the robbery at the post office in Mottingham. As the guard came out of the venue the gang pounced barging him and making off with nearly £7,000.

Detective Inspector Gail Lilley, of Central Specialist Crime, said: “These men are career criminals. Each has their own extensive criminal history that includes multiple convictions for burglary and vehicle crime.

“They used a variety of vehicles, often changing number plates in order to avoid detection.

“The vehicles they used were stolen by a variety of methods including burglary, theft, and robbery and the vehicles that were legitimately owned by the defendants also displayed cloned plates that were regularly changed.

“Their network was competent and well organised. Through Operation Navarin and the hard work and dedication of our officers we have put a stop to their criminal activities and taken dangerous criminals off the street.’’

On Friday, 25 September at Woolwich Crown Court they pleaded guilty as follows:

[A] Kieran Beazley pleaded guilty to:

- Three counts of conspiracy to rob relating to HSBC Beckenham, Co-op Blackfen and the Post Office Footscray Road.
- Two counts of handing stolen goods relating to a Proace van and a Nissan Juke vehicle.
- Robbery of a commercial vehicle in transit [CVIT] on 12 June.
- Three counts of driving while disqualified.

[B] Sam Holmes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob in relation to Mecca Bingo Hall, the Post Office, Mottingham and the Post Office, Footscray Road.

[C] Sanchez Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob in relation to the Post Office, Footscray Road.

[D] David Leadbeater pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob in relation to Mecca Bingo Hall, the Post Office Mottingham and the Post Office, Footscray Road.