Merton Homes Raided In Crackdown On Street Robbers

Ten arrested as part of Operation Target

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A number of homes in Merton were raided as part of a renewed police drive to dismantle a gang of organised street robbers.

The group is believed to be responsible for an estimated 45 to 50 robberies on young people in Wandsworth, Tooting and Streatham over the last nine months.

The gang is led by a 'Fagin' type of character, who is believed to have encouraged the group, of at least 20 young people, to commit the robberies.

The victims are primarily schoolchildren - aged 13 to 16 years old - who have been subjected to group attacks in order to rob them of mobile phones and other sought after personal belongings. The group have also targeted lone females and on a couple of occasions, convenience stores.

The police activity took place in Wandsworth, Lambeth, Merton and Croydon boroughs and was part of the Met's renewed drive to tackle crime against people and their property under Operation Target.

Ten males - aged [A] 25, [B]18, [C]14, [D]17, [E]17, [F]15, [G]14, [H]17, [J]17, [K]16 - were arrested on Monday (June 28) on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery. They were taken to various south London police stations and remain in custody.

A range of electronic equipment believed to be stolen was recovered and police seized two knives in the searches. The property included items such as laptops, mobile phones, iphones and sim cards.

Prior to Monday's action, seven young women - aged between 14 and 17 - had been arrested in May and bailed in connection with the inquiry. The operation is being led by Wandsworth police with extra resources from neighbouring boroughs and central Met units.

Detective Superintendent Gerry Campbell, from Wandsworth police, said: "Today's activity forms part of the Met's renewed crackdown on crimes against people and property called Operation Target. 

"Offenders should be in no doubt that robberies and violence which brings misery to individuals and our communities will not be tolerated. We are absolutely resolute in our determination to tackle violent crime in all its forms and make London safer."

Since Operation Target was launched on June 8, there have been 3,749 operational activities from increased patrolling or proactive investigations, and nearly 2,005 arrests for offences including burglary, robbery and possessing firearms.

June 29, 2011