Armed gang members who threatened staff with a gun at a Leighton Buzzard Co-op store were also behind a string of terrifying shop raids across south England, it has been revealed.
Four men were sentenced to over 70 years’ imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday) following an investigation led by the Met’s Flying Squad.
Between January and December 2018, the group were involved in 22 armed robberies and two attempted robberies at Co-Operative and One Stop stores.
The group targeting the Leighton Buzzard store in Clarence Road on December 9, 2018. Just after the store opened at 7am, three of the men, one carrying a black handgun, entered the store.
The man with the gun threatened a staff member and demanded he open the till, and the three staff members were told to lie on the floor
In addition to Leighton Buzzard, the gang also carried out armed raids in Bristol, Bicester, Rugby and Towcester as well as a number of stores across London.
During their 12-month crime spree, the gang stole more than £100,000 in cash and alcohol and tobacco worth £15,000 from the stores.
> Shane Wilson, 40, of Solon New Road Estate, Brixton, was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment.
> Joel Rene Derriviere, 45, of Hicken Road, Lambeth, was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.
> Samuel Kenneth Bernard, 56, of Gosling Way, Stockwell, was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.
> Clleon Smith, 32, of London Road, Croydon, was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months’ imprisonment.
The investigating officer Detective Constable William Man said: “These prolific gang members terrified shop workers across the country in order to steal cash.
“They are dangerous individuals who threatened victims with knives and guns throughout their brazen crime spree.
“I hope the victims, and the wider public, feel reassured that these violent offenders have been taken off the streets and will now serve lengthy sentences behind bars.
"I also hope the sentences act as a deterrent to those involved in this type of criminality. We will continue to bear down on violent crime and we will work night and day to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Officers from the Met’s Flying Squad launched an investigation into the gang in October 2018. CCTV and surveillance enquiries linked the organised gang to 24 offences carried out across the year.
On December 13, 2018, the investigation culminated in a series of arrests in Hungerford just prior to a planned robbery
Officers observed three of the men travel from Brixton to Fairview Road in Hungerford in a silver Vauxhall. The trio were seen parked up and observing a One Stop shop as it was about to open for the day.
Officers intercepted and apprehended Shane Wilson, Clleon Smith, and Ken Bernard at approximately 5am.
They were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery and taken into custody at a south London police station.
A police search of the silver Vauxhall identified a black handgun, recovered from the rear offside footwell, a balaclava worn by Wilson, a black rucksack and a tool knife.
Further investigation, including forensics and phone work, linked Joel Derriviere to the offences. He was arrested later that day at his home address.
All four men were charged on December 14,2018.
The presiding judge, HH Judge Holt, praised the victims, saying they were a credit to the companies they worked for.
She added: “In extreme circumstances, the victims exhibited considerable fortitude and bravery.”