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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
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  • presenting cases at court

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

10/11/2015

Three men were convicted today (November 10) 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 15.

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.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Thomas O'Connor will be sentenced alongside other defendants on a further conspiracy to commit robbery charge on November 19th at Woolwich Crown Court.
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  4. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  5. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  6. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly ACPO) and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.