Gang who used crowbars to threaten security guards are jailed

A gang of five men who carried out cash-in-transit robberies in South London over three years, threatening security guards 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 Flying Squad sting tackling organised crime networks in south London.

Ishmael Baptiste, 28, of Cypress Road, South Norwood 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, of Heathfield Drive, Mitcham, 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, Crystal Palace, 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, of Brixton Hill, Brixton, 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, of Stanthorpe Road, Streatham, was sentenced to six years and two months’ imprisonment for robbery.

The court heard how on Friday, 22 December 2017 Smith, Adan and Ashman robbed a security van after driving up to Tesco Express, Croydon Road, Penge in a stolen car with false number plates.

Ashman entered the premises at 8.40am and stole a cash box whilst Adan threatened the security guard with a crowbar.

Smith waited outside and acted as the getaway driver in a second stolen car.

But the Met’s Flying Squad caught Ashman and Adan as they fled on foot.

Smith managed to escape in a second stolen vehicle but officers pursued the car caught up with him and grabbed him as he tried to run away.

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 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 the sentences sends a clear message to anyone considering carrying out such crimes.

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

The gang, pictured left to right, are: Ishmael Baptiste, Richard Roberts, Samir Smith, Mohammed Adan and Michael Ashman

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