Two men from Hackney and one from Kent have been jailed for burglaries worth £300,000 at St Albans Crown Court.
The gang, who were masked and armed with sledgehammers, smashed into several shops and stole mobile phones.
Kurtis Lamptey, 26, Ajay Singh, 25, and Sonny Lockwood, 28 all pleaded guilty on Wednesday (June 1). Lamptey and Singh admitted to seven burglaries between November and December of last year.
Lamptey and Singh, the “leading members” from Hackney, admitted to seven burglaries and were both sentenced to six years in jail. Lockwood, from Sevenoaks, Kent, was sentenced to five years and four months for the four burglaries and the theft of vehicle number plates.
One burglary was carried out in Carphone Warehouse, Weybridge, where the gang stole 121 mobile phones, worth around £45,000. The court heard how the men grabbed a sales assistant and said: “Babes, put in the code, put in the code.”
Prosecutor Ann Evans told the court on Wednesday (June 1) that the gang had also used a stolen car to smash through the front of one shop.
She said: “Most of these offences have been committed during the hours of darkness when the shops are closed but, on two occasions, staff have been taken to the rear of the shops, locked in the toilets or made to squat in the corner of the room with their hands up.”
Judge Andrew Bright QC told the men: “You were part of a well-organised team of burglars targeting phone stores in the south east of England.
“Huge numbers of telephones were stolen, mostly in hours of darkness.
“The offences were well planned. You wore balaclavas, were equipped with sledgehammers and getaway cars.”
The burglaries amounted to a total of £306,632.95 and were carried out in shops in Weybridge, Hastings, Tonbridge, Orpington, Guildford, Bishop’s Stortford and Galleons Reach. Few of the mobile phones have been recovered by police.