Detective predicts drop in moped crime as prolific gang convicted
Members of the Easy Cash gang, known as EC1, are awaiting sentencing following a police-led crackdown
25 February, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
The moped raiders stealing bikes before targetting West End jewllery shop
A SENIOR detective has predicted “significant reductions” in moped robberies after gang members responsible for terrifying raids across Islington, Camden and the West End were convicted.
Detective Sergeant Danny Watts, of Operation Vocare, said he was confident police have the intelligence to crush any re-emergence of the attacks that plagued central London throughout 2017 and 2018.
Members of the Easy Cash gang, known as EC1, are awaiting sentencing following a police-led crackdown on moped-enabled crime.
Four men, who were part of a syndicate of eight aged between 16 and 21, pleaded guilty or were found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court last Friday after targeting luxury West End jewellery stores including Boodles in Sloane Street.
Their sentencing next month will mark the culmination of a two-and-a-half year campaign against a gang that has led to five trials and prison sentences of more than 100 years.
DS Watts said: “We think we have identified a substantial gang involved in this criminality. With the number of convictions we have obtained, we will see significant reductions in this crime type.”
He added: “These gang members were big operators in north and central London.” The gang had “lines into the drugs market, petty crime, and into lower- level robberies”.
Vocare was set up in 2016 after a string of mobile phone shops were robbed. Thirteen members of the syndicate were convicted during trials that took place between August 2017 and October last year.
The gang continued to target pedestrians and shops in smash-and-grab attacks despite the initial convictions.
Now DS Watts thinks the police have cracked the moped crime epidemic, with offences dramatically reduced since a peak in July 2017.
He said: “We have got a real wealth of intelligence at the moment… and I think we are in a much better position now than maybe we were two to three years ago. If we did see an increase in moped crime then we would be far more alert to who would be committing those offences now.”
Islington resident Harry Doyle, 18, Camden residents Henry Histon and Miguel St Martin, a 16- year-old, and two others
who have yet to be identified, hit Boodles on March 26 last year. They were armed with axes and samurai swords and arrived in a stolen Land Rover around 11am, while three others parked mopeds in a nearby back street.
They tried to ram the shop with the Land Rover and then tried to use sledgehammers to break in. A 48-year-old man grabbed the 16-year-old and was then set upon and hit with an axe in the back and the knee before the gang fled. The wounds were non-life threatening and the victim later made a good recovery.
The 16-year-old was arrested that day after he was found hiding in a school. The others were picked up later in the year.
Doyle admitted conspiracy to commit robbery, he was also found guilty of grievous bodily harm for assaulting the 48-year-old. St Martin, 21, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery at the Boodles jewellery store.
He was also convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary at another raid in Sloane Street, at Yves St Laurent.
Histon, 18, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit robbery before the hearing on Friday.
A fourth man, Alfie Warry, 21, from Camden, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.