Three convicted for ‘violent and frenzied’ smash and grab raids in London and Manchester

10/11/2015

Three men were convicted today (November 10th) at the Central Criminal Court, London, for a string of commercial robberies in London and Manchester.

Alex Parle, 22, Conor Gartland, 18, and Thomas O'Connor, 23, robbed businesses of at least £460,000 in jewellery and cash between February 2014 and January 2015 and left thousands of pounds of damage in their wake. They will be sentenced on December 15th.

Damaris Lakin, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "These men were part of an organised criminal network that targeted money transfer shops and jewellers. Their actions terrified staff at these businesses and passers-by alike, with a witness describing one of the raids as violent and frenzied.

"The gang used rubber blocks and hammers to smash shop windows and steal jewellery from window displays, or they would enter stores with the blocks and hammers and smash the partitioning glass to the till area. A samurai sword and other objects were used to threaten staff and ensure their demands for cash were met. They would then make off on scooters waiting outside.

"The frenzied raids meant a trail of evidence was left behind and this, as well as the analysis of cell site and DNA evidence, was central to the thorough police investigation. This meant the CPS was able to put a strong case before the court and these individuals had no choice but to plead guilty at this early stage of proceedings.

"Members of the public and shop staff should be able to go about their daily business without the threat of this type of unacceptable violence. We hope that this conviction sends out a strong message to organised criminal networks that we will work closely with our police partners to bring those responsible to justice."

The following are the charges to which they pleaded guilty:

Alex Parle, Conor Gartland and Thomas O'Connor pleaded guilty to a change of conspiracy to rob between the 15th day of February 2014 and the 23rd day of January 2015 together with another unknown. This charge encompassed 7 robberies.