A 25-year-old man was arrested during raids in Croydon and across south London by detectives investigating a street robbery gang led by a ‘Fagin’ style character.
The raids were part of Operation Target, which aims to crack down on street crime affecting victims and their property.
The ‘Fagin’ style individual is alleged to have led a group of twenty young people, said to have committed up to 50 robberies in the last nine months in south London alone.
Half the group, ten males aged between 14-18-years-old, were arrested early today and currently remain in custody at various south London police stations on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery. Seven young women, aged between 14 and 17 were arrested in May; all have been released on bail. As well as Croydon, other raids took place in Wandsworth, Lambeth and Merton.
School children, lone females and newsagents were the main targets in the crimes which led to police seizing a large quantity of stolen equipment at a dozen addresses across the boroughs. Among the stolen goods were mobile phones, laptops and sim-cards.
Since the launch of Operation Target on June 8, there have been 3,749 operational activities and 2,005 arrests for different types of offences, such as burglary, robbery and possession of firearms.
Detective Superintendent Gerry Campbell, of Wandsworth police, who led the operation, said: “Offenders should be in no doubt that robberies and violence which brings misery to individuals and our communities will not be tolerated. We are absolutely resolute in our determination to tackle violent crime in all its forms and make London safer.”