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Hatchet gang jailed for Piccadilly watches store raid

'This group of men acted with total disregard for the general public who must have been terrified'

25 November, 2016

Stephen Hopkins and Charlie Kavanagh

FOUR men caught red-handed by Flying Squad officers while attempting to carry out a smash and grab robbery at a high-end watch store in the West End have been jailed.

Acting on intelligence, officers from the Met’s élite robbery squad were waiting for the gang when two of them entered the shop in Piccadilly armed with hatchets on August 3.

Their attempted escape left five officers injured, with one still recovering from a fractured skull after he was struck by a moped as the robbers tried to flee the scene.

Johnny Kyriacou and James Symes

Johnny Kyriacou and James Symes

Yesterday (Thursday), Charlie Kavanagh, 26, Stephen Hopkins, 29, James Symes, 30, and Johnny Kyriacou, 25, all from Islington, were jailed for a combined total of 53 years at Blackfriars Crown Court. They had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob.

Kavanagh, from Canonbury, who also pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 13-and-a-half years.

Hopkins, from Holloway, who also pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding, and Symes, of no fixed abode, were sentenced to a total of 14-and-a-half years.

Kyriacou, from Holloway, was jailed for 10-and-a-half years.

Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Staff, from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “This group of men acted with total disregard for the general public who must have been terrified to see such an audacious crime being carried out in broad daylight but also for those officers who bravely tried to apprehend them.

“One was left with very serious injuries that he is still recovering from after he was hit by a moped.”

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