Members of an organised crime group who stole more than £465,000 in a series of ram-raid burglaries in London’s West End have been jailed, following an investigation by the Met’s Flying Squad. The five men were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 21 December, after pleading guilty to conspiring to burgle three premises in Westminster.
Martin Dunne, 37 (25.7.84) of Foxes Parade, Waltham Abbey, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Omar Bakali, 28 (11.4.93) of Hopefield Avenue, Kilburn, was sentenced to four years and four months’ imprisonment. Jamie Claydon, 28 (17.4.93) of Ipswich Road, Newbourne, Suffolk, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He also pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods. Gary Lynch, 32 (21.3.89) of Tudor Close, Highgate, was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment. Anthony Alleyne, 54 (20.4.67) of Peckham Road, Peckham, was sentenced to four years and six months’ imprisonment.
The first burglary took place on 14 July 2020 at 03:30hrs at Selfridges in Oxford Street. Two vehicles, an Audi S4 bearing stolen number plates, and a Jaguar S-Type, which was on cloned number plates, approached the store. The Jaguar then reversed through the entrance doors. Five suspects ran into the store and stole a number of Valentino and Balenciaga handbags. They then returned to the vehicles and drove off.
Detectives from the Flying Squad began an investigation to trace the movements of the vehicles and suspects. Extensive CCTV enquiries tracked the vehicles to a residential area in Highgate. It wasn’t until after they committed the second burglary that officers were able to identify the members of the organised crime group by using evidence from hours of CCTV, and extensive telephone records and automated number plate recognition (ANPR).
The second offence occurred on 24 July 2020, at 04:05hrs, at Celine on Mount Street. Two stolen vehicles, both displaying stolen number plates, an Audi S4 and a Volkswagen Golf, arrived at the scene. The Golf reversed through the entrance doors at speed and five suspects ran into the store and stole a number of handbags. Extensive structural damage was caused to the store. The Golf was abandoned in the store whilst the men left the scene in the Audi. DNA linked Alleyne to the Golf. Further telephone evidence and ANPR showed Dunne and Bakali to travel from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, to north London on the evening of 24 July in the Audi S4. CCTV evidence showed them meet with other members of the group at a residential area in Highgate to change clothing and prepare the Audi and Golf. This involved changing number plates on the vehicles.
CCTV evidence showed the group to rendezvous in Highgate after the offence and transfer property stolen into a Ford Transit van. CCTV from the night of the offence and later surveillance observations linked this van to Lynch. Images and messages found on Bakali’s phone showed him attempting to sell the handbags on in the days after the offence.
The third burglary took place just after midnight on 9 October 2020 at Moncler in Old Bond Street. CCTV evidence showed the group meeting in a residential area in Chalk Farm. As with the earlier offences, the group turned their mobile phones off at this meeting in order to evade detection. The suspects approached the venue in a stolen vehicle, a Kia Niro and two motorbikes. They smashed their way through the entrance door with a sledgehammer. They stole a number of jackets, bags and other items of clothing and fled the scene. One of the motorbikes used was abandoned at the scene. Enquiries showed it had been stolen.
Later that day, on the afternoon of 9 October, detectives conducted surveillance in a residential area of Epping. They located Claydon in a van and found a large amount of Moncler clothing in bin bags. The property had been stolen during the offence. He was arrested for handling stolen goods and released under investigation. DNA linked Bakali to the motorbike left at the scene. Images found on Dunne’s phone showed him to have been in possession of stolen clothing from this burglary. Detective Constable Martyn Stone from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “This was an immensely complex investigation involving a huge amount of evidence.
Claydon was later arrested again in May 2021 and charged with conspiracy to burgle. The other members of the group were arrested throughout March and May 2021 and also charged with conspiracy to burgle. Investigations continue to track down and bring to justice outstanding suspects who are believed to be involved in these offences.