A specialist Met team has broken up a criminal network after catching three members who launched a hammer attack on a Tooting pawnbrokers.
Two of the trio of organised crime gang members were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday, 26 August to a total of nine years following the heist last October that left the shop workers shaken.
Saloum Joh, 34 , of Cumberland Park, W3, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, one counts of handling a stolen car. He was given 4 years for conspiracy to commit robbery and 6 months to run concurrently for handling stolen goods.
Jamal Mahmood, 30 of Eastwood Street, SW16 was handed 4 years for conspiracy to commit robbery and 6 months to run concurrently for handling stolen goods. He had pleaded guilty at the same court to conspiracy to commit robbery, one counts of handling a stolen car.
Sherif El-Gazzaz, 33 , of Watford Way, NW7, who pleaded guilty at the same court to conspiracy to commit robbery, two counts of handling stolen cars, possession of cocaine and cannabis will be sentenced at a later date, to be confirmed, following a medical assessment.
The court heard on the morning of 4 October 2019 two masked men armed with a hammer got out of a stolen Audi A6, leaving the driver waiting, and walked into a pawnbrokers in Mitcham Road SW17. They used a hammer to smash a glass display case and stole more than £37,000 worth of jewellery.
They made off their stolen getaway car leaving staff frightened and extremely distressed. It was found abandoned by police on Blegborough Road, Streatham, just over an hour later.
An investigation was launched by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command who began a painstaking investigation to find those responsible.
Detectives matched blood from the broken glass window and DNA evidence to Saloum Joh and Sherif El-Gazzaz, while officers found traces of DNA on the steering wheel and gear pedals that was traced to Jamal Mahmood. All three suspects left traces on the door handles, while El-Gazzaz’s DNA was found on the hammer used in the attack.
CCTV and phone intelligence was all used to track the suspects to the scene and the area where the Audi had been stolen.
On the 17 December 2019 officers executed warrants at the suspects’ addresses and arrested them for the offences. The keys to a 2015 stolen Jaguar parked on Cumberland Place on false plates was found in EL-Gazzaz’s address and he was also in found in possession of cocaine and cannabis. On the 18 December 2019 all three were charged and remanded to court.
Detective Sergeant Michael Harding, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “This attack was the stuff of nightmares for the shop workers, who were confronted by masked men bursting into their shop armed with a hammer.
“The Met are committed to tackling violent organised crime and a lot of work went into tracing those responsible. I and the team are happy to see that another criminal network has been disrupted, and the streets are safer for those two being behind bars.”