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A pair of blue pyjamas wth cartoon monkeys on them led to an armed gang, who terrified newsagents across Kent, ending up in court.
Police say the gang couldn't help boasting of what they had done. They set up a Blackberry Messenger group titled 'Armed Robbery'. One of the pictures they posted was of a gang member wearing the blue pyjamas. He had already worn them during one of the raids.
The four-strong gang terrified staff at newsagents in Biggin Hill, Dover, Chatham, Gravesend and Eastbourne, East Sussex. They carried knives and in one of the raids threatened staff with a handgun.
Christopher Aldred, 23, of Kellaway Road, Chatham; Christopher Heath, 31, Terry Sullivan, 24 and Thomas Balderstone, all from Ernest Road, Chatham, will be sentenced later.
Detective Sergeant Andy Nicoll, who oversaw the investigation, said: "The crimes carried out by these four men were violent and often terrified the victims. The offenders were forceful, threatening and brazen and left the staff in those shops feeling that if they did not comply, then serious harm would come to them.
"Despite showing a level of forensic awareness some of the men became sloppy, taking ‘selfies’ on their mobile phones. Whether this was narcissistic or not, it became their downfall and before long there was a wealth of unquestionable evidence stacking up against them. The men’s desire to parade themselves as gangsters ultimately led them to jail."