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A violent gang of armed robbers have been jailed after being found guilty of a string of robberies across east London and the neighbouring counties.
The four men were convicted of robbery and conspiracy to rob offences at Snaresbrook Crown Court. They were sentenced as follows:
-Saqib Waheed, aged 27 (21/5/85) of Katherine Road, East Ham, E6, sentenced to 14 years.
-Waqaas Malik, aged 28 (5/9/84) of Morley Road, Plaistow, E15, sentenced to 14 years.
-Darian Davis, aged 34 (30/5/78) of no fixed abode, sentenced to eight years four months
-Adam Ephraim, aged 22 (10/11/90) of Lennard Road, Croydon, sentenced to six years.
The court heard how the gang targeted cash delivery staff as they collected or dropped of cash at locations throughout east London, Kent and Essex. Each time the gang would use high levels of violence, hospitalising innocent members of staff on occasions. The gang used an axe and threats to use firearms to attack and intimidate their victims as they carried out their crimes.
Following a lengthy proactive operation by detectives from the Met's Flying Squad based at Tower Bridge, evidence was painstakingly gathered against the gang.
On Monday 2 July 2012, Flying Squad officers arrested Waheed and Davis, whilst they committed a cash in transit robbery on a Loomis delivery at Waitrose, High Road, South Woodford.
Ephraim and Malik were arrested soon after this offence.
Detective Sergeant Tom Smith, who led the investigation, said:
"This was a complex investigation spanning a number of months which has resulted in four violent criminals being put behind bars. The gang had no qualms in using extensive violence to intimidate their victims as they carried out their robberies. Thanks to diligent police work, especially that of DC Matthew Wyatt, these four men are now where they belong - behind bars."
Detective Inspector Mark Field of the Flying Squad said:
"This was a very professional outfit who used gratuitous violence in their crimes. It is fortunate that no one was seriously injured. It was only through the meticulous work of the Flying Squad that ensured this group are not free to continue committing robbery. This operation shows the Flying Squad's commitment in convicting organised criminals engaged in attacks against the cash in transit industry."
Details of the robberies the four were involved in:
4/4/11 - Robbery - HSBC, Green Street, London, E6
A G4S custodian was violently robbed as he was making a delivery at the HSBC, Green Street, East Ham, E6. The two suspects made off in a stolen Ford Transit van, which was subsequently recovered with the cashbox containing £20,000 also inside. CCTV in the area later identified Waheed as being one of the males involved.
8/2/12 - Robbery - Lidls, Sydenham Road, SE26
A cash box containing £20,000 was snatched from a G4S custodian as he was making a delivery at Lidls. Waheed was later identified through CCTV to be passing dye stained notes from this robbery in a ticket machine at Plaistow Underground Station.
21/2/12 - Robbery - Waitrose, Biggin Hill, Kent
A Loomis delivery was robbed at Waitrose, Main Road, Biggin Hill, Kent as staff replenished the cash machines at the location. Both custodians were violently attacked by suspects armed with an axe. They threatened to blow off the victims head with a firearm. £46290 was stolen. DNA relating to Waheed and Ephraim was recovered close to the scene.
9/6/12 - Robbery - Esso Petrol Station, Collier Row Road, Romford, Essex.
A Loomis delivery took place at the Esso Petrol Station, Collier Row Road, Romford, RM5. As the custodians carried out the cash machine replenishment, men in balaclavas attacked them, and repeatedly punched and stamped on them in an attempt to access the whole cash machine. The attack was so ferocious that one of the victims temporarily lost consciousness. Both custodians were hospitalised as a result. £4750 was stolen. The attackers made off in a stolen Vauxhall Vectra, later recovered and found to contain an axe.
2/7/12 - Robbery - Waitrose, High Road, South Woodford, Essex.
Surveillance followed Waheed and Davis to this location where a Loomis delivery was taking place. Dressed in boiler suits, gloves and balaclavas, they violently attacked the custodians and attempted entry to the cash machine bunker which contained £110,000. An armed intervention took place by CO19 and both were detained.
In addition to these substantive robbery offences, the court heard of numerous days of police surveillance evidence, where the gang were seen following Loomis and G4S cash in transit vans, and observing their deliveries across East London. Extensive telephone evidence supported surveillance and reactive enquiries.
In passing sentence, Her Honor Judge Korner identified Waheed, Malik and Davis as "Dangerous Persons" due to their previous convictions and potential to harm the public, and sentenced in light of this.
She acknowledged the violence used during the robberies as being "beyond that which was necessary," and the physical and psychological effects the robberies had on their victims. She commended the police officers in the case for a well prepared and presented case.