Collier Row Tesco raid gang caged

EIGHT men have been jailed for more than 100 years in total after committing a string of “SAS-style” robberies.

Paul Oughton, 48 years, of no fixed address, was jailed for 13 years on Wednesday for conspiracy to rob with six years to run concurrently for possession of a firearm after a raid on Tesco in Collier Row in November 2005.

A sawn-off shotgun and a handgun were later recovered.

His sentencing follows the jailing of seven other men last Friday at Snaresbrook Crown Court for a total of more than 90 years.

The gang, dressed in black uniforms complete with balaclavas, would arm themselves with machetes, firearms and Tasers to raid building societies, security vans, and commercial businesses in east London, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, the court heard.

During one incident the gang smashed their way into a building society in Holt, Norfolk, escaping with �81,000 in cash.

One startled witness commented that they looked like members of the SAS swooping on the quaint market town.

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Mark Richards, 30 years, of South Hall Drive, Rainham, admitted his role in the operation at Snaresbrook Crown Court on August 13 last year and was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to 13 years’ imprisonment.

The other defendants were convicted at the same court of robbery offences amounting to �500,000 in cash being stolen, as well as stealing a significant number of high-performance vehicles. They were caged for between 20 months and 16 years.

Det Insp Jason Hendy, of the Flying Squad, said: “This result follows a lengthy operation designed to target violent individuals who would stop at nothing to secure large sums of money by force.”