Teenage moped robbery gang jailed over phone snatch spree

11/10/2017

Members of a moped robbery gang who snatched in excess of 100 mobile phones from people on the streets of London in a string of attacks over the space of five days have been jailed today for a total of 13 years.

Claude Parkinson, 18, and two other teenagers, aged 15 and 16, who cannot be identified because of their age, admitted conspiracy to rob between 18 April 2017 and 5 May 2017.

Parkinson was sentenced to five years and three months imprisonment by Southwark Crown Court today. The two teenagers were jailed for four years and two months each.

The gang masked their appearance with crash helmets and motorcycle clothing and, riding on two motorbikes, pounced on members of the public in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Islington and Camden, often driving at speed up on to pavements to steal the phones.

On several occasions they used violence, wielding a hammer and a tyre lever. At one point they used the hammer to smash the window of a car which chased them.

They were part of a wider crime wave of more than 100 such offences a week at one point in Westminster alone.

Parkinson rode the lead moped on all five days while the two other teenagers admitted to being involved in 42 offences each over two days. The pillion passenger was caught on camera brandishing a hammer by a photographer on 4 May but has yet to be identified.

A fourth man, Samsul Chowdhury, 40, who also admitted being part of the conspiracy to rob, admitted a further charge of handling stolen goods at an earlier hearing. He was jailed for four years and 10 months today.

Known as 'Boss' he had advertised that he was willing to pay money for mobile telephones and had been in regular contact with the gang.

When his home was raided police found 35 phones, several laptops and other items stolen from two residential burglaries.

His detailed accounts showed between 5 April and 17 May this year he sold on 327 items for a total of £52,150. Proceeds of crime applications will now take place to investigate and seize the profits Chowdhury made.

Andrew Caird, CPS reviewing lawyer, said: "These young men preyed on a huge number of members of the public on the streets of London over a series of days, using violence or threats on some occasions.

"Their victims were in many cases extremely traumatised by the robberies, and on at least one occasion a victim was very nearly hit by the mopeds.

"One witness described them whooping with joy as they made a snatch. However photos of the gang taken on 4 May by a photographer with a long lens captured such detail of Parkinson's distinctive eyes, fingers and jacket, that he was identified.

"This along with mobile phone message data, clothing comparisons, and eyewitness accounts led to the guilty pleas and today's prison sentences.

"Londoners should be able to go about their daily lives without being targeted on the streets in this way."

Notes:

  • Andrew Caird is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in CPS London South.
  • Claude Parkinson [DOB 06/09/1999] lived in Thornhill Square, Islington
  • Samsul Chowdhury [DOB 02/06/1977] lived in Usk Street, E2.
  • The two other teenagers were both from Islington.