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Three found guilty of stealing equipment worth ‘thousands’ from Havering fire stations

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 August 2016

Fire engine at Hornchurch Fire Station

Fire engine at Hornchurch Fire Station

Archant

Three men have been convicted for their involvement in the theft of fire-fighting equipment worth over £100,000 from fire stations in the borough and across London.

Jermaine Okapu, 26, Jack Edwards, 20, both from Newham and Luke Sixsmith-Hughes, 22, from Tower Hamlets, targeted up to 24 fire stations in a crime spree throughout August and September last year.

Along with Havering, stations in Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Haringey, Enfield, Lewisham and one station in Dartford, were hit.

Det Sgt Robert Walls, from Havering CID, said: “Those involved showed a total disregard for the potential impact these losses could have had on the fire service’s ability to respond to fires and other critical incidents.

“The most frequently stolen items - thermal imaging cameras - are used by the fire brigade to locate trapped persons and to stop fires spreading.

“I have no doubt that the quick detention of those involved and the effective partnership work between the police and fire service enabled us to secure the overwhelming evidence that left the men with no alternative than to admit their guilt.”

Along with the high-value equipment, fire service uniform and radios were stolen, which, it is believed, the men were selling overseas.

After an intelligence-led police operation, Edwards and Sixsmith-Hughes were arrested in a vehicle in Silvertown on Tuesday, September 15.

A battery for a thermal imaging camera, stolen the same day from a fire station in Lewisham, was found inside the vehicle.

Further investigation linked the two males to burglaries at 24 premises, with some broken into on more than one occasion.

Both Sixsmith-Hughes and Edwards subsequently admitted their involvement in all the offences.

Okakpu was identified as being involved in the crime and arrested on Wednesday, September 24, and later admitted involvement in eight burglaries.

Sixsmith-Hughes and Edwards pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and were both jailed for three years in February.

Okakpu pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court to conspiracy to commit burglary and was jailed for two years, suspended for 21 months, yesterday. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service.

London fire commissioner Ron Dobson, said the thefts could have had an impact on the fire services ability to respond to those in need of help.

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