Moped gang jailed for total of 67 years as police say scooter crime has halved since their capture

One of Britain’s most professional moped gangs has been jailed as police say that the scooter crime wave has halved since the 12 men were removed from the streets.

The gang, who between them have committed 400 offences, were sentenced for a series of high-profile raids including a "shocking" attempted robbery where they threatened to snatch a three-year-old from his mother.

Clad in black with their faces hidden by motorbike helmets, the gang carried out audacious heists using stolen vehicles with fake number plates, the court heard.  

Their crime spree included blocking traffic to angle-grind a £180,000 BBC camera from a bridge, spraying a fire extinguisher into a police car as a distraction as they stole a motorbike and leading officers on a 90-minute high speed chase across 10 London boroughs.

Taking the gang off the streets has helped cut moped-enabled crime in the capital by 52pc in the space of a year, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The crackdown came after crimes using mopeds peaked at 2,592 in July 2017 and saw police turning to extreme tactics including using their cars to ram suspects off their bikes even if they are not wearing helmets.

The gang have now admitted 16 "professional, planned and organised" offences between November 2017 and June 2018 in which they made off with a haul worth half a million pounds.

Passing sentences totaling more than 67 years, Judge Georgina Kent told the 12-strong gang: "The motorbike helmets and clothing, often all in black, were an effective disguise and created an intimidating appearance. The motorbikes provided a quick getaway.

"Many of these offences were committed in public view because you were confident you could get away with it."

In what the judge described as an "exceptionally serious and shocking attempted robbery", four gang members were caught on CCTV laying in wait for a woman with a young child in broad daylight Richmond.

Pheobe Ruele was walking hand-in-hand with her son when John McFadyen, 24, grabbed her arm hard enough to leave finger-mark bruises and told her: "Give me your rings. I'm going to hurt your child and take him away."

Footage, which  went viral after being circulated on social media by Amanda Holden, the Britain's Got Talent judge,  showed Ms Ruele dragging her child into the road before builders chase the gang away, brandishing scaffolding poles.

The defendants, who are aged between 19 and 36, also used their mopeds to block traffic before taking an angle grinder to cameras rigged up to capture the Oxford versus Cambridge boat race on March 22 last year.

Although their first attempt on Putney Bridge was interrupted by off-duty police officer Steven Wagstaff, a highly-specialised BBC camera worth an estimated £180,000 was stolen nearby just an hour later.

Other offences included ram-raiding a high-end outdoor clothing company Altimus Ltd in High Street Kensington twice within a month, assaulting the security guard who had been hired after the first raid on the second and throwing him onto the street.

The gang also sprayed a police car with fire foam extinguishers as officers waited for a stolen moped to be collected, before making off with the bike.

On another occasion they targeted two unmarked police cars, stealing an officer's bag from one and smashing another up with a hammer in a bid to do as much damage as possible.

Three gang members - Omar Tafat, 22, Josh Myers, 19, and Kian Taylor, 20 - were arrested on May 7 last year following a high-speed police chase.

It lasted more than 90 minutes and spanned 10 London boroughs, with all three piled onto the same bike as they tried to film it.

Whilst three of the offenders had no previous convictions nine of them had a total of 383 previous convictions including burglaries, handling stolen goods, car theft, aggravated vehicle taking, assault and robbery.

The gang, who were all linked to ringleader Terry Marsh, 32, were sentenced for offences including conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to steal, criminal damage and handling stolen goods.

Investigating officers said they were highly forensically aware and carried out a number of raids without leaving any DNA evidence, forcing the police to spend a year painstakingly analysing huge volumes of mobile phone data to link the defendants and the offences.

Marsh alone had three handsets and 20 different Sim cards.  

The career criminal, who has a record listing previous 78 offences including burglaries from 2003 to 2014, was jailed for 13 years and two months.

Tafat, 22, of Fulham, was jailed for a total of eight years and five months while Myers, 19, and Taylor, 20, were jailed in a young offenders institutions for eight years and nine years and four months respectively.

McFadyen was jailed for 32 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to rob, while his brother Isaac, 19, admitted conspiracy to rob was sentenced to 32 months in a young offenders institution.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/13/professional-moped-gang-behind-audacious-heists-jailed-67-years/