Robbery gang who dressed as firefighters to gain victims’ trust are jailed

Members of a London robbery gang - including two from Romford - who posed as firefighters to gain their victims’ trust were jailed at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The men staged a series of robberies at shops, banks and other businesses in 2010, including at the Bryant Road McDonal’s, in Romford, stealing thousands of pounds.

A number of the heists involved wrestling cash boxes away from security guards, while in others members of the gang posed as firefighters pretending to check alarm systems to gain entry to businesses.

They then threatened the victims with imitation guns and demanded money.

Darren Lloyd, 36, who is already serving 18 years for his part in the robberies, recruited fireman Russell Williams, 39, to supply real uniforms.

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Former police officer Gary Griffiths, who had previously served with the Met for 17 years, and another man, Frank Nesbitt, of Mildmay Road, Romford, then wore the kit.

The court heard that Griffiths, who resigned from the police in 2007, led an “exemplary life” before he turned to crime.

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Passing sentence, Judge David Paget QC said: “When I sentenced Darren Lloyd I said there were only two things to be said in your favour. Firstly that no actual violence was used and secondly that not a great deal of money was stolen, in the main because of the sophisticated security systems in place on cash in transit boxes these days.

“Stolen vehicles with fake registration plates were used and in some offences imitation firearms were used. All of these are serious aggravating features showing sophisticated planning and the whole of the offending took place over a period of five months.”

Joshua McEvilley, 29, of Hare Hall Lane, Romford, was imprisoned for three years for four counts of conspiracy to rob.

Nesbitt, 20, received eight years for three counts of conspiracy to rob and one of having an imitation firearm.

Griffiths, 42, of Babbington Road, Dagenham, was jailed for five years for five counts of conspiracy to rob and six of having an imitation firearm.

Ben Garforth, 20, of Chadwell Heath Lane, Dagenham, received six years for five counts of conspiracy to rob.

Peter Henderson, 29, of Lymington Road, Dagenham, was jailed for two years for four counts of conspiracy to rob. He could be heard whooping as he left the dock.

Jason Stacey, 38, of Chitty’s Lane, Dagenham, was given eight years for seven counts of conspiracy to rob and three of having an imitation firearm.

Williams, 39, of Bury Green Road, Cheshunt, previously admitted assisting an offender and will be sentenced at a later date.

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