Three men from south east London have this week been jailed for a series of violent robberies across the south of England.
Ricky Turner, 25, Robert Ampomah, 26, and Jonathan Cope, 35, pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on Monday 22 April to conspiring together with other persons to commit robberies between 8 January and 2 March 2012.
The police inquiry was carried out by the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad and code-named Operation Paros .
The gang would meet in SE16 and SE15 and travel to Kent and Dorset, targeting transit couriers. The raids yielded in excess of £68,000.
Turner of Queens Road, SE15, received eight years imprisonment. He was further sentenced for attempting to rob a Post Office cash delivery in Kent on 3 May 2012.
Ampomah of Lucey Way, SE16, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Cope of Chandler Way, SE15, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. He was additionally sentenced for handling stolen goods when he drove Turner away from the scene of an attempted robbery in Kent on 3 May 2012.
The court heard that in one case, the group targeted a G4S van in New Malden. Pulling alongside the courier in a stolen vehicle, the men smashed open a Santander bank using sledgehammers while wearing face coverings. A courier was struck twice on the arm with a claw hammer with the demand he opened the ATM.
“We are extremely pleased that justice has been served in this case. Our courier acted with great courage, and prevented what could have been a far greater loss from this attack,” said a representative from G4S.
When asked about increased safety and training for their staff, G4S said “The psychological impact that incidents of this nature can have on people should not be underestimated, and we ensure that our staff are provided with industry-leading training and counselling to ensure they are better equipped to deal with such violent attacks.”
The Operation Paros investigation presented evidence in the form of mobile phone data. Police were able to track the group’s movement across south east England as they planned and carried out the robberies.
The court also heard about DNA evidence, as a number of items, such as a glove, had been left at the scene of one crime. Robert Ampomah’s DNA was found on discarded items found at an arson which was linked to an earlier robbery.
DC Morrey of the Flying Squad said “I am pleased at today’s sentencing which means three very dangerous men are now behind bars. These were violent armed robberies during which innocent members of staff were terrorised and genuinely feared for their lives.
“Anyone who is willing to inflict such fear for their own material gain deserves to spend a significant amount of time behind bars. These men now face considerable terms of imprisonment where they will have plenty of time to think about the consequences of their actions.
“This has been a lengthy and complex investigation spanning across the south of England involving a number of other forces, and the crimes committed have not only affected the lives of Londoners but those further afield.”