Gang jailed for carrying out string of burglaries across region
PUBLISHED: 11:17 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 27 September 2019
A man who was part of gang which carried out a ram raid at a supermarket in Saffron Walden has been jailed for his part in a string of crimes across the south east of England.
Alfie Smith, 41, of Staines Road West, Ashford, Middlesex, was forensically linked by police to an ATM theft which was carried out at Aldi in Thaxted Road on June 27, 2018.
An investigation was launched by the Metropolitan Police and detectives identified additional, potentially linked offences across the region and expanded their inquiries to include four other members of Smith's gang.
Alfie Stanley, 41, of Beech Drive, Cambridgeshire; Levi Smith, 36, of Yeldham Road, Halstead, Essex; and Kiah Roberts, 42, of Glamorgan Road, Ipswich, was subsequently arrested and charged, along with Alfie Smith, with conspiracy to commit residential burglary, conspiracy to commit non-residential burglary and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles in relation to 52 offences, which occurred between March and November 2018:
The men were all sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on August 23.
Alfie Smith, Alfie Stanley and Levi Smith pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing and were jailed for 14 years and eight months, seven years and eight months, and six years respectively.
Roberts denied the offences and was due to stand trial in August but pleaded guilty to one count of residential burglary shortly before. He was jailed for 15 months.
Alfie Smith and Stanley were also charged with aggravated criminal damage. They both denied the offence but pleaded guilty shortly before trial. They were jailed for a further two years and eight months each, to run consecutively to their original sentences.
A fifth defendant, Jimmy Broomfield, 32, of Yeldham Road, Halstead, was charged with conspiracy to commit a residential burglary, conspiracy to commit a non-residential burglary and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle in relation to offences between June 27 and August 7 2018 only.
He denied the offences but was convicted on Tuesday, August 20, following a week-long trial.
He was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on September 26 to five years' imprisonment.
The group carried out a total of 52 offences spanning London, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Essex, Kent, the Thames Valley area, Suffolk, and Surrey - 17 ATM thefts, 23 burglaries and 12 taking of a motor vehicle. They caused more than £1million worth of damage to properties and stole money and vehicles worth more than £500,000.
Officers carried out a significant amount of analysis of mobile phones and cell sites, trawled hours of CCTV footage and mapped the movement of the group through ANPR. Their inquiries led them to identify the additional members of the network, and enabled them to begin mapping the timeline of offences.
Working closely with colleagues from neighbouring forces, detectives identified a total of 52 offences linked to the group.
Before each ATM theft the gang stole a vehicle from a residential address, often using it to attempt to rip out the machine from within a venue, and then abandoned the vehicle at the scene or in a nearby location.
During a burglary on June 27, 2018, at Aldi in Saffron Walden, the group used a large excavator from a building site to smash through the front entrance.
On several occasions, the group used sledgehammers to smash windows and angle grinders to cut through doors. They tried to attach heavy duty straps to several cash machines and pull them from the venue using a vehicle.
During an offence in Suffolk on October 14, 2018, the group used a digger to smash through the front of a building, narrowly missing a resident sleeping in the apartment above.
Levi Smith was arrested on November 20, 2018, after his DNA was linked to an offence at a supermarket on Staines Road West in Sunbury-on-Thames.
His DNA was found on straps the group attempted to put around a cash machine inside, as well as on the internal handle of the stolen car. He was then further arrested in relation to the wider conspiracy.
Alfie Stanely was arrested on November 24, 2018, whilst driving vehicle stolen in one of the series of offences.
Broomfield was identified by officers through analysis of phone data. The data showed he was complicit in offences between June 27 and August 7 only.
Detective Constable John Richards, from the Met's Flying Squad, said: "This group of individuals showed a complete disregard for the owners and occupiers of the houses they stole from. Moreover, the danger they put the public and themselves in whilst committing these ram raids was mindless. It is only through sheer luck that nobody was injured."