A seven-strong gang of thieves who carried out more than 40 burglaries in just three months in South London – most while the victims were upstairs asleep – has been jailed.
The group, who stole a mobility scooter from a Merton home, were later seen by police riding it as a joke.
They were sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court on Thursday, 4 July.
The defendants would break into the homes and target car keys and handbags before stealing the victims’ cars – and used stolen vehicles to get from house to house.
The gang would often swap stolen number plates between the vehicles to avoid being identified.
Their slick operation meant they left almost no physical evidence behind.
Most of the offences were committed when the occupants were at home, but the gang regularly came and went without being noticed. The victims often only found out when they tried to get in their cars.
One of the gang, Kofi Yeboah, of Belgrave Walk, Mitcham, was arrested when as part of another investigation he reported to a police station and turned up in a stolen car.
The result follows a four-month long police investigation led by the Met’s Trident Proactive Team.
A breakdown of the defendants and offences are as follows:
- Yeboah, 24, was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle on 28 November 2018. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal the following day. The charge of conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle will lay on file. He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
- Jayden Jones-McGilvray, 19, of Sheridan Road, Richmond, was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle on 28 November 2018. He pleaded guilty to both offences the following day. McGilvray was sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment.
- A 17-year-old from Wimbledon was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle on 28 November 2018. He pleaded guilty to the offences during the first day of trial on Monday, 29 April 2019. He received a twelve month referral order with a curfew for three months.
- Brandon Lee Smith, 18, of New Addington, Croydon was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle on 28 November 2018. He pleaded guilty to the offences on Thursday, 28 March 2019. Lee Smith was sentenced to 24 months’ in a young offenders’ institute.
- Timothy Forder, 19, of Dunmore Road, Raynes Park, was charged with conspiracy to commit a burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle on 5 December 2018. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to handle stolen goods on Tuesday, 26 March 2019. He was given a 19 month sentence in a young offenders’ institute, suspended for 18 months, with conditions including 120 hours unpaid work.
- Joe Louis Murphy 22 (30.12.1996) of Belgrave Road, Morden was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle on 28 December 2018. He pleaded guilty to the offences on Friday, 7 June and was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment.
- Louis Sawyer, 24, of Boundary Road, Tooting was charged with possession with intent to supply Class B drugs and possession of an offensive weapon on 28 November 2018. He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply Class B drugs the following day and the defence he gave for possession of the offensive weapon was accepted by the prosecution. He was sentenced to a total of 14 months, suspended for 18 months with conditions, including a three month curfew.
The court heard how the gang targeted affluent south London areas and carried out 47 burglaries in the space of just three months.
The offences, which took place between August and November 2018, were all committed during the night.
The Met launched an investigation into the gang in August 2018 following a sharp increase in residential burglaries in Richmond, Twickenham and Merton.
As a result of several months of meticulous work and surveillance, key members of the organised crime group were identified.
Enquiries established that the gang were responsible for the theft of 53 vehicles, worth approximately £200,000 during the spate of residential burglaries across the two boroughs.
Yeboah was held at Wimbledon Police Station whilst appearing in relation to a separate offence which he had been released under investigation for. Nearby, in a stolen car, displaying false number plates, was the 17-year old, who was also arrested.
Smith was arrested later that day at his home address and McGilvray was arrested whilst walking in Wimbledon.
When Sawyer was located nearby and arrested, he was found to be in possession of drugs and a cosh.
So far, more than 10 vehicles have been recovered by police in and around London. Enquiries continue to locate the other vehicles.
Detective Sergeant Jonathan Paynesaid: “This gang targeted affluent areas of London in order to steal cars from innocent homeowners.
“They terrified the residents of south London during their burgling spree and I hope today’s sentencing gives the victims a measure of comfort and closure.
“I hope today’s result acts as a deterrent to those involved in this type of criminality and reassures the public that police listen and take robust action.
“Career criminals have no place on the streets of London and we will continue working night and day to put such audacious offenders behind bars and keep communities safe.”