Young rioter receives longest sentence yet

pic: Metropolitan Police

A man has been jailed for five years for looting, criminal damage and attacking police officers in Lewisham during the August 2011 riots.

Darren Earle, 24, of Orpington, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one count of robbery. He was sentenced to five years in prison at the Inner London Crown Court on last week.

Earle was identified from CCTV footage of him taking part in riots in Lewisham on August 8. CCTV showed him, with a group of other rioters, breaking into Blackheath Antiques on Lewisham High Street and stealing items. Police said Earle also attacked officers with missiles, before taking clothes from JD Sports on Plassy Street.

Later he and the same group of men entered Favourite Fried Chicken in Catford Broadway. Police said: “As they smashed their way through, customers of the shop were seen to panic and try to flee.” This included a father who had to shield a newborn baby in a pram. Earle threw a chair at the shop’s staff before he and others ripped the cash till from the counter and fled the scene.

Detective Constable Dean Harding of Operation Withern, the Metropolitan Police team dedicated to investigating the riots, said: “Earle was identified following extensive CCTV enquiries and with the help of the public has been brought to justice. The lengthy sentence he has received shows that seven months on from the disorder we remain relentless in our pursuit of those that terrorised and blighted our communities.”

Detective Superintendent Si Cunneen of Lewisham police said: “This is the longest sentence handed down to a person involved in the disorder that took place in Lewisham so far. My officers are still looking at CCTV and pursuing all lines of enquiry to catch those who were involved in the serious criminality that occurred back in August. We are determined that those who took part in the disorder will not evade justice and will feel the full force of the law no matter how long it takes.”


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