A gang of violent cash-in-transit robbers, who were caught in possession of SmartWater marked banknotes shortly after their fifth and final robbery, have been jailed following a trial at Kingston Crown Court.
Ishmael Baptiste (21) and Romaine Gayle (18) were convicted of robbery alongside Andre Abrahams (26) and Gladstone Allen (20), after they were arrested by detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad. Baptiste and Gayle were jailed for seven-and-a-half-years and six years imprisonment respectively whilst Abrahams and Allen were given indeterminate sentences after also being found guilty of two counts of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.This related to a separate investigation led by Operation Trident, following the shooting of two men at a hostel in Tooting.Neither Abrahams nor Allen will be considered for parole until they have served at least 10 years in prison.
The gang’s first of five robberies against cash-in-transit couriers took place in Clapham High Street on August 4, 2010 when a G4S employee was assaulted and a cashbox was stolen. The suspects left the scene in a silver Volkswagen Golf which was later found to be registered to Abrahams.
Four similar robberies committed over the next three months convinced detectives that they were carried out by the same gang. The subsequent robberies took place in Battersea Park Road, outside Clapham Junction station, near to a McDonald’s restaurant in Wandsworth and at a Total Petrol Station in Richmond, all in South London.
The gang were arrested swiftly after the final robbery by officers from the Flying Squad. The four men were found in a nearby flat whilst still in possession of dye-stained cash and clothing. The marked items were seized and sent to SmartWater’s forensic laboratories which confirmed the dye-staining had come from the same cashbox stolen outside the Total Petrol Station in Richmond.
Detective Superintendent Tony Nash from Operation Trident, said: “These men committed a multitude of violent crimes across London and thought nothing of resorting to extreme violence at the drop of a hat. Their actions blighted the lives of terrified and innocent people caught up in the cash-in-transit robberies they committed for no other reason than their own greed, and Allen and Abraham’s thought nothing of using a firearm to shoot two men following a disagreement. The sentences received are right and a true reflection of their crimes.”