Gang of mobile thieves sentenced

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Twelve youths who robbed 45 mobile stores across London and surrounding areas have been sentenced to jail

A gang of 12 youths who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock from Carphone Warehouse, O2 and Vodafone stores last summer has been sentenced this week.

The group targeted 45 shops in London and surrounding areas between June and August 2012, violently wrenching smartphones and tablets from displays in incidents police say left staff traumatised.

All 12 pleaded guilty to one offence of conspiracy to commit burglary and will collectively serve eight years and eight months in prison.

Nyron Worrell and Simon Hibbert, both 18, were sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years, with Hibbert also receiving 200 hours community service.

Christopher Street, 19, and Laphaniel Fisher, 18, were sentenced to eight months and nine months imprisonment respectively.

Six members of the all-male gang, who cannot be named as they are under 18, were given jail sentences of between nine and 18 months. Another 17 year old boy was given 18-month youth rehabilitation order.

Kwasi Owusu Amankwaa, 18, is due to be sentenced at Croydon Crown Court in the week commencing March 4.

The gang would operate in groups of between four and 12 at a time, meeting up at transport hubs and then travelling to the venue they planned to target.

The group were arrested after a intelligence-led operation by the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU), supported by Croydon CID.

NMPCU detective chief inspector Robert Mahoney said: “These convictions should act as a warning to anyone involved in this type of activity that the MPS will robustly and swiftly deal with those who use intimidation to fulfil their greed.

“We have worked closely with key business partners, including Carphone Warehouse and local boroughs impacted by these offences, to obtain vital evidence and reduce the fear of crime and the professionalism of officers and staff will ensure this particular gang no longer represent a threat to Londoners.”

Carphone Warehouse said: “The safety and welfare of our employees and customers are our main priorities. After a series of robberies on our stores, we are pleased that the individuals responsible have been caught and will be sentenced in February. We will continue to work closely with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit and the police to assist them with any further enquiries.”

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