Ruthless Leicestershire crime gang posed as police officers
Members of a ruthless crime gang posed as police officers and tax officials to carry out a series of terrifying burglaries.
Police released the mugshots of the Leicestershire crooks after Steven Nutting (31), the last of the six to be sentenced, was jailed for six-and-a-half years yesterday.
The other five, Wayne Vakani (29), Shraine Tumber (30), Ibrahim Razak (29), Dale Robinson (27) and Benjamin Chisholm (29), were given sentences totalling 30 years at a hearing in July.
The gang targeted people at homes and businesses in Leicester and across the East Midlands – in some cases tying up their victims and threatening to harm or kill them – between September, 2009 and May, 2010.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
During the planned operations they posed as police officers and, on one occasion, tax officers. They flashed false ID cards, carried walkie-talkies and wore stab vests.
In groups of three to five, the men approached the victims and told them that they were being investigated by police for offences including drugs, illegal immigration, tax offences and firearms.
They were then threatened with arrest if they did not co-operate. The men stole large quantities of cash, jewellery and electronic goods, claiming it would all form part of the "investigation".
The gang carried out five burglaries in Leicester, one in Northampton and one in Nottingham.
Michael Auty, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court that Nutting was involved with others posing as tax officers who insisted on searching house in Narborough Road South, Leicester, on March 18, 2010.
The woman householder was threatened by one of the gang, who told her that her children could be taken into care if she did not co-operate. It was only after the gang left that she realised goods, jewellery and cash worth £12,000 had been stolen.
Nutting was also involved in a raid at a petrol station in Nottingham, during the same month, when an employee was tied up by other gang members who threatened to shoot him. They stole cigarettes and cash, while Nutting unsuccessfully tried to remove a cash machine.
Sentencing, Judge Sylvia De Bertodano said: "It was a sophisticated and professional operation. Towards the end, violence began to be used against occupants and victims."
In the Northamptonshire raid, staff at a bingo hall were tied up and had hoods put over their heads while members of the gang stole £35,000.
The value of cash and property taken during the offences totaled more than £200,000.
Officers investigating the incidents soon began to make links between the offences, and in July, 2010, began to execute warrants at addresses across Leicester.
Over the course of the following four months, all six men were arrested and charged.
When Nutting was arrested, police seized from his home cable ties, a two-way radio and a fake police warrant card.
Steven Newcombe, mitigating, said Nutting was not the organiser of the crimes and added: "He was punching above his weight by becoming involved in this type of offending."
After the case, Detective Constable Gary Dickinson, said: "These men carried out offences which terrified the victims involved who, at the time, truly believed they had nowhere to turn.
"Almost all of the victims had their hands tied, some had their heads covered and one was told he would be shot if he didn't cooperate.
"These men acted with only their own gain in mind, threatening harmless members of the public in such a terrifying way that they were left traumatised by their actions.
"Although the offenders tried to appear professional, with false identification cards, stab vests and hand-held radios, the victims soon realised they were not who they said they were. They then immediately called police and worked with us to locate them. It's through the actions of those victims that we have been able to get the results we have seen today. I think one thing that other members of the public can take away from this is that you can never be too cautious. If you are approached by someone who claims to be from an official body, don't hesitate to check their credentials, particularly with police.''
SENTENCED: What the defendants were given
Wayne Vakani of Manor Road, Loughborough: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, on the basis he was involved in three burglaries – at a business in Deacon Street, near Leicester Royal Infirmary; a house in Narborough Road and the Northampton bingo hall. Jailed for eight years.
Shraine Tumber of Peverel Road, Braunstone: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, on the basis he was involved in one offence, in Deacon Street. Handed a 12– month suspended sentence.
Dale Robinson of Blossom Road, Braunstone: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, on the basis he was involved in two burglaries – bingo hall and Deacon Street. Sentenced to five years in prison.
Ibrahim Razak of Groby Road, Leicester: Found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary, on the basis that he was involved in two burglaries, including one at Marine Road, Evington. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Benjamin Chisholm of Bracken Walk, Markfield: Pleaded guilty to burglary – when he was getaway driver from the bingo hall raid. Sentenced to eight years in prison, plus a further two years for unrelated blackmail offences.
Steven Nutting of Payne Street, Belgrave, Leicester: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, on the basis he was involved in two burglaries. Sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.