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Knife-wielding moped thugs convicted of string of offences

The group were convicted of robberies, burglaries and phone snatches

FOUR MEN who carried out moped-mounted crime sprees armed with axes, samurai swords and zombie knives have been convicted at Blackfriars Crown Court last Friday, 15th February.

The four, who carried out a spate of phone snatches and robberies in Islington and Camden, were reportedly “big operators in north London” and also targeted Boodles jewellery store and luxury fashion store Saint Laurent in the West End last year.

They are the latest to be charged in connection with this gang’s offences, following the conviction of a man and four teenagers. This result follows a complex investigation by officers from the Met's Operation Vocare as well as officers from the Flying Squad.

The defendants and their convictions are as follows:

Miguel St Martin, 21, of Argyle Square, Kings Cross pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery (Camden, Islington, Westminster, and the City), and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary at Saint Laurent. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery at Boodles jewellery store.

Alfie Warry, 21, of Baldwin Gardens, Camden, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary at Saint Laurent.

Harry Doyle, 18, of Radnor Street, Islington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery at Boodles jewellery store. He was also found guilty of grievous bodily harm in relation to the assault of the 48-year-old member of the public.

Reece Salmon, 20, of City Road, Islington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery (Camden, Islington, Westminster, and the City). He was found not guilty for conspiracy to commit robbery at Boodles jewellery store..

All four are due to be sentenced together at the same court, at a later date.

The convictions are the latest of Operation Vocare, which was originally set up to target an Islington moped gang that robbed three mobile phone outlets between May and November 2016. As a result of the initial Operation, 13 members of the gang and three handlers were convicted during trials that took place between August 2017 and October 2018.

In February 2018, Vocare officers discovered a garage in Macclesfield Street, Islington, was being used by other gang members to stash mobiles snatched in Camden, Islington, Westminster, and the City between August 2017 and February 2018. They raided it and recovered stolen phones, SIM cards from stolen phones, the handle from a broken zombie knife and a replica firearm.

These latest convictions are a direct result of this discovery.

Det Sgt Danny Watts of Operation Vocare, said: “These gang members were big operators in north and central London. However, we secured a number of significant convictions and sentences against them and they have been taken off the streets.”

The attempted Boodles robbery took place at 11.am on March 26 when St Martin, Doyle, Henry Histon, 18, a 16-year-old boy and two other as yet unidentified people attacked the Sloane Street, SW1, jewellery store.

Three of the suspects were carrying weapons such as axes and samurai swords when they travelled to the store in a stolen Land Rover Discovery. The other three were waiting with unregistered getaway mopeds which they had parked in a nearby back street the night before.

They tried to ram the rear doors of the building with the Land Rover, before attempting to smash the doors with sledgehammers. Both attempts were unsuccessful.

A 48-year-old passerby intervened and grabbed a defendant but was set upon by the rest of the gang, receiving non-life threatening stab wounds to the back and an axe hack wound to the knee.

The gang then fled the scene on the mopeds, ditching the Land Rover. The unidentified 16-year-old was arrested later that day by Flying Squad officers after he was found hiding in a nearby school.

Officers later recovered the mopeds used in the robbery as well as clothing, weapons and a phone used in the offence, which were submitted for forensic analysis.

Of the incident, Det Cons Phelim Redmond, Flying Squad and officer-in-charge for the Boodles robbery, said: “This was a brazen attempt to rob Boodles and a cowardly, vicious attack on an unarmed member of the public who bravely intervened.

“It is by sheer good fortune that having been set upon by four men wielding axes and swords that he did not sustain more serious injuries.

“We are committed to taking every opportunity to divert, disrupt, detect and prosecute those involved in these moped related crimes.”

Less than a month after the Boodles attack, on April 24, St Martin, Warry, Henry Histon, 18; and an as yet unidentified fourth person, burgled the Saint Laurent Store, Sloane Street shortly after midnight.

Smashing in the door, they stole £90,000 worth of handbags before fleeing on mopeds.

That same day Op Vocare officers tracked St Martin to a hotel in Kings Cross, where they found a ‘zombie’ knife, four stolen mobile phones, and two Saint Laurent handbags (collectively worth £10,000). The items were seized and St Martin was arrested on suspicion conspiracy to commit robbery.

Store CCTV identified clothing worn by the suspects during the burglary - some of which were found in St Martin’s hotel room, while CCTV from the hotel, identified further suspects in the offence - namely Warry and Histon. The fourth person is still to be identified.

St Martin was then arrested for the Saint Laurent burglary.

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