Leader of armed robbers who posed as firefighters is jailed

The mastermind behind a group of armed robbers who posed as firefighters to hold-up shops at gunpoint, including three in Havering, has been jailed for 18 years.

Darren Lloyd, 36, of Pettits Road, Dagenham, faced trial after pleading not guilty, but was convicted at the Old Bailey of a number of conspiracy to rob offences.

He was sentenced last Friday (January 6).

He was the leader of a gang who carried out 14 raids, including one in McDonald’s in Bryant Road, Romford; one in Barclays Bank, in Upminster Road, South Rainham; and another on a shop in Elm Parade, Hornchurch.

They used weapons - including handguns, knives and crowbars - during the well-planned raids, which netted the group around �200,000 in their nine-month crime spree.

Six other men, including two from Havering, who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and firearms offences will be sentenced on Friday January 27.

They are: Joshua McEvilly, 29, of Hare Hall Lane, Romford; Frank Nesbitt, 20, of Mildmay Road, Romford; Gary Griffiths, an ex-Met police officer, 42, of Babbington Road, Dagenham; Jason Stacey, 38, of Chitty’s Lane, Dagenham; Ben Garforth, 20, of Chadwell Heath Lane, Dagenham; and Peter Henderson, 29, of Lymington Road, Dagenham

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An eighth man, Russell Williams, a firefighter, 39, of Bury Green Road, Cheshunt, had previously pleaded guilty to assisting an offender and will also be sentenced on Friday January 27.