Croydon gang member sentenced to 22 years

Robert Hall. Pic: Metropolitan Police

An unemployed man from Croydon was sentenced on Friday to 22 years in prison for his part in a string of armed robberies dating back to 2000.

Along with two other gang members, Robert Hall, 48, from Grange Road, pleaded guilty to offences involving firearms, robbery and conspiracy to rob at Inner London Crown Court.

The trio planned to rob a Santander bank in North Cheam on February 15, 2012 but aborted the attempt after a fire broke out in a nearby street. They fled the scene using stolen cars before police intercepted them.

Hall was found in possession of a loaded .38 revolver as well as a flick knife, 18 rounds of ammunition, gloves and a green balaclava.

Fellow gang-member Emmet Wynne, from West Wyckham, had a loaded Walther PPK pistol, a Taser, five rounds of live ammunition, a mobile phone jamming device and a lock knife. Ian Knight, of Streatham, fled the scene but was arrested a week later.

Friday’s convictions marked the end of a six-month intelligence operation by the Tower Bridge Flying Squad, said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Johnson.

“This was a well organised team of armed robbers whose meticulous planning and otherwise normal lives managed to keep them under the radar for so many years.”

The gang operated from 2000. They broke into bank branches and waited for security guards to load cash machines before threatening them at gunpoint, often binding their hands with cable ties.

Johnson said: “If it hadn’t been for the tenacity of my officers, this team would have continued to carry out armed robberies for many more years to come. I am delighted with today’s result.”

The gang has been jailed for a total of 62 years.

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