Two suspected gang members escaped prison sentences last Wednesday after pleading guilty to their role in a violent robbery in Croydon town centre.
Sanchez Banton, 18 and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted to their part in the robbery of Just Leathers in North End on February 20, two days after a gang fight broke out in the town centre.
The 17-year-old received a 12-month rehabilitation order and 60 hours of community service after it was claimed by his defence that he had changed his lifestyle since the incident.
Sanchez Banton was also given 60-hours of community service and was given a 15-month rehabilitation order.
The Croydon Guardian have quoted a police source as saying: “Once again these youths walk away with a slap on the wrist for what is a very serious crime.”
Croydon’s juvenile court was shown CCTV footage of more than ten men, suspected of being part of the gang Don’t Say Nothing (DSN), raiding the clothes store, stealing leather jackets and assaulting staff.
The video shows how the group waited outside the shop until two members entered, causing panic amongst staff that allowed the rest of the gang to run in and steal the leather jackets, worth up to £200 pounds.
The incident that occurred in broad daylight followed terrifying scenes two days before as another gang, Shine My Nine, brawled with DSN leaving passers-by shocked and scared.
In 2009 Croydon’s Pathway’s project was set-up, with former gang members enlisted in an attempt to combat youth crime in the area. Adrian Roberts from the borough’s police team said: “This is about us working with the community and with the council, and giving gang members an opportunity and the support to walk away, before someone gets hurt.”