A GANG OF FOUR petty but persistent criminals were sent to prison last week – clocking up long sentences for the large number of robberies they had carried out in convenience stores and petrol stations in and around Tower Hamlets.
The four were charged with a huge total of 38 offences, showing just how much disruption and upset they caused to small shop-keepers in the area. Victims of the gang included Co-op, ASDA and Tesco Express stores as well as a BP garage, with some outlets being targeted on repeated occasions.
The usual pattern of the robberies was that the four piled into the outlet, went behind the counter and grabbed alcohol, cigarettes and confectionary. If they were challenged by serving or security staff, they threatened violence – and sometimes carried it out. Police estimate they acquired goods valued at over £10,000 with one raid on the Co-op stores in Middlesex Street yielding alcohol and cigarettes worth over £1,605 alone.
However, although the gang may have thought they were targeting easy victims, in many ways their choice of victim was their downfall. Many small shops have CCTV cameras for protection. Police soon spotted the pattern of robberies and were able to put several instances of CCTV footage together which were seen by experienced local officers as well as being, in part, released to the public. After that, the gang members were soon found.
The convicts were sentenced as follows, with all four receiving Criminal Behaviour Orders too.
Guled Jama, 28, of Cannon Street Road, Tower Hamlets was found guilty of 11 counts of robbery, three counts of possession of an offensive weapon, two counts of burglary and 13 counts of theft. He was sentenced to a total of seven years’ imprisonment.
Alinur Rahman, 36, of Seacole Court, High Road, Tottenham pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery. He was found guilty of one count of burglary and two counts of theft and sentenced to a total of three years and four months’ imprisonment.
Abdul Hannan, 36, of no fixed abode was found guilty of six counts of robbery, three counts of possession of an offensive weapon, two counts of burglary and five counts of theft. He was sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment.
Detective Constable Andrew Mason from Tower Hamlets CID said, “This series of offences were brought to an end as a result of the close partnership we had with the store managers and staff whilst utilising the knowledge and experience of local officers to identify these defendants. I am pleased they are now behind bars.”