West London Robbery Gang Jailed for Total of 41 Years

Jewel thieves led by Fagin-type character from Acton

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Hammersmith and Fulham Police



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Five members of an armed West London gang responsible for two violent smash and grab robberies were sentenced to a total of 41 years in jail on Thursday February 3.

The armed gang, who included members from Hammersmith and Acton, stole more than £250,000 of money and jewellery from shops in Victoria and Richmond.

The robbers, who were recruited and organised by Lee Byer, 32, of Bollo Lane in Acton, targeted jewellers in Victoria and Richmond and were jailed at Kingston Crown Court. The five had previously pleaded guilty at the same court on August 16 and October 18 2010.

The men were arrested after an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad, Barnes.

They identified Byer as the head of the gang, who acted as a Fagin-type character to recruit young members into the gang to commit the robberies.

Byer organised the robberies which included conducting target reconnaissance and arranging getaway vehicles but had limited participation in the actual offences.

During the course of these robberies £250,000 worth of property was stolen, and officers have so far recovered £100,000 worth of watches and other jewellery. The two jewellers robberies were committed on February 5 and April 27 2010.

An element of violence was used in both of the offences, with staff and public being threatened by firearms. In one offence a young baby was covered with glass as the gang smashed display windows inside the jewellers shop whilst a gun was used to threaten the mother of a distressed child.

Detective Chief Inspector Pam Mace in charge of MPS Flying Squad at Barnes said: "Lee Byer was a prominent and influential figure within West London crime circles. He controlled a violent gang of young men, directing them to commit high value commercial robberies and regarded himself as untouchable.

"The lengthy and complex investigation by the Flying Squad, with the support of local borough officers, has resulted in all five pleading guilty, reflecting the compelling evidence gathered against them.

"I would like to pay tribute to the victims, including very young children, who have been severely traumatized by the actions of this gang."

Lee Byer, 32, of Bollo Lane, W3, pleaded guilty to robbery at H Stain Jewellers, Victoria on 27 April 2010 and conspiracy to commit robbery at Horton Jewellers, Richmond on 5 February 2010. He was jailed for 12 years.

Lascelle Lawrence, 21 of Irving Road, Hammersmith, Jake Whittingham, 21, of Denmark Road, Ealing and Tarik Foster, 17, of Northolt, pleaded guilty to robbery at H Stain Jewellers, Victoria on 27 April 2010. Lawrence and Whittingham where jailed for eight years each and Foster for four years and six months.

Andrew Duncan, 19, of Sidney Miller Court, South Acton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery at Horton Jewellers, Richmond. He was jailed for eight years and six months.

6th February 2011