Thanks to the hard work of Detectives from the Met’s Trident Proactive Team, members of a prolific organised crime group who carried out multiple robberies and moped offences across London have been jailed.
The gang of 12 men were sentenced to a total of 67 years and 10 months’ imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court on Monday, 13 May.
The gang had embarked upon a crime spree throughout London during their campaign of violence and fear.
The convictions came as a result of a 12-month police investigation led by the Met’s Trident Proactive Team.
The court heard how between November 2017 and June 2018, the gang were responsible for 16 offences across south and west London boroughs.
Most offences were committed at night and the defendants rode motorcycles and used vehicles which were either stolen or had their number plates removed.
The gangs’ professional offending meant they left almost no physical evidence behind and usually wore motorcycle helmets in an attempt to avoid identification.
The Met launched an investigation – named Operation Fieldhouse – into the organised crime group (OCG) in February 2018 following an increase in violent moped enabled robberies across the Capital.
The crimes of the gang were widely reported at the same time as police officers were being criticised by some sections of the mainstream media for the tactics which they utilised in order to try and catch the suspects.
The crimes of the gang included a moped robbery from uniformed officers on Lillie Road, SW6 in November 2017.
Officers came across the moped, which was identified as stolen. Whilst waiting for it to be recovered, the suspects approached the officers, discharged two powdered fire extinguishers as a distraction and stole the moped.
As a result of several months of meticulous work and surveillance, key members of the organised crime group were identified.
A breakdown of the defendants and offences are as follows:
• Omar Tafat, 22 (30.07.96) of John Smith Avenue, London SW6 previously pleaded guilty to attempted theft, going equipped to steal, criminal damage to a police car and breach of a criminal behaviour order. He was also found guilty of two further counts of robbery and possession of an offensive weapon on Friday, 5 October 2018.
Tafat was sentenced to eight years and five months’ imprisonment.
• Josh Strong-Myers, 20 (08.05.99) of Loftus Road, W12 previously pleaded guilty to attempted theft, going equipped to steal, criminal damage to a police car, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, possession of an offensive weapon and conspiracy to steal (cameras). He was also found guilty of two further counts of robbery and possession of an offensive weapon on Friday, 5 October 2018. Strong-Myers was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.
• Kian Taylor, 20 (03.07.98) of no fixed address previously pleaded guilty to attempted theft, going equipped to steal, criminal damage to a police car, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and possession of an offensive weapon.
He was also found guilty of robbery at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, 5 October 2018 and conspiracy to burgle on Monday, 14 January 2019. Taylor was sentenced to nine years and four months’ imprisonment.
• Steven Weller 36 (07.06.82) of Greenlawn Lane, TW8 previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to burgle on Thursday, 11 October 2018. He was sentenced to six years and seven months’ imprisonment.
• Terry Marsh, 32 (06.10.86) of Vanston Place, SW6 previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to burgle on 11 September 2018. He was sentenced to 13 years and two months’ imprisonment.
• Ryan Moran 26 (05.01.93) of Hazelbury Road, SW6 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to burgle and handling stolen goods on Tuesday, 11 September 2018. He was handed a 24 month suspended sentence.
• John McFadyen, 24 (12.07.94) of Hounslow Road, TW13 previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob on Tuesday, 11 September 2018. He was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment.
• Isaac McFadyen, 19 (02.10.99) of Hounslow Road, TW13 previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob on 11 September 2018. He was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment.
• Mitchall Leaver, 25 (25.02.1994) of Trott Street, SW11 previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle. He was sentenced to a 12 month suspended sentence.
• Aaron Pask, 27 (02.07.91) of Westway, W12 was previously found guilty of conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal on Friday, 4 January 2019 and conspiracy to steal on 1 February 2019. He was sentenced to six years and eight months’ imprisonment.
• Scott Leaver, 25 (25.02.94) of Frazier Street, SE1 was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle on Monday, 7 January 2019. He was sentenced to four years and eight months’ imprisonment.
• Ram Monk, 23 (29.09.95) of no fixed address was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle on 14 January 2019. He was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment.
The police investigation established that the gang were responsible for the theft of approximately £40,000 worth of stock during two ram raids at the same clothing shop in Kensington High Street.
During the first incident on 31 December 2017, the group used a stolen Range Rover to break into the store. The defendants stole two high value coats before abandoning the vehicle and fleeing on motorbikes.
The second incident took place on 30 January 2018 where three mopeds rammed the front of the shop to gain entry at approximately 01:30hrs.
Four suspects entered the store holding planks of wood, which they assaulted a security guard with.
As the gang members stole items of clothing, the security guard managed to escape and find safety in a nearby taxi where police were alerted.
The offenders made off with a number of items of clothing.
The gang were also responsible for the attempted theft of a media camera that was fixed to Putney Bridge on Thursday, 22 March 2018 to film the Oxford v Cambridge boat race.
The suspects attended on mopeds and attempted to remove the camera using an angle grinder but were unsuccessful.
They proceeded to ride to Lonsdale Road, SW15 where they stole a high-value video camera from a scaffolding platform. This camera has never been recovered.
At approximately 15:15hrs on 7 May 2018, Tafat, Taylor and Strong-Myers were involved in an attempted knifepoint moped robbery on Dolphin Street in Kingston.
A police helicopter identified the suspects riding two mopeds in the area and an immediate police pursuit began with police vehicles on the ground (scroll down for video).
During the pursuit both suspect mopeds exceeded speed limits, ignored red traffic signals and rode through parks, including Shepherds Bush Green, and other pedestrian areas.
The three men were detained and arrested in Ealing by police following a 90 minute pursuit which ran through ten London boroughs.
Officers discovered a hammer, screwdriver, angle grinder and large knife underneath the seat cover of one of the mopeds.
The gangs’ final offence involved an attempted robbery in Sandpits Road, TW10 on Thursday, 21 June 2018, which was widely circulated on social media.
The incident involved four suspects who made their way on motorbikes to Staunton Road, Kingston where they stole number plates from a parked vehicle.
Both motorbikes then made their way to Sandpits Road, TW10 where two pillion passengers got off the bikes and approached a female victim who was walking hand in hand with her three-year-old son (scroll down for video).
They demanded jewellery whilst threatening to harm the boy if she did not comply.
The victim however grabbed her child and ran backwards into traffic in an attempt to escape. At this point, the occupants of a lorry exited the vehicle and chased the suspects away.
The suspects for this offence were later identified as Marsh, Weller, and the two McFadyen brothers.
In the early hours of Wednesday, 19 July 2018, the police investigation culminated in a series of search warrants in relation to these moped enabled crimes.
Marsh, Weller, Pask, Isaac McFadyen and Moran were arrested as a result.
Officers seized pieces of clothing linking them to a number of offences, mobile phones, approximately £6,000 in cash and an imitation firearm.
Detective Inspector Andy Durham, who led the investigation, said:
“Operation Fieldhouse was a painstaking investigation which sought to apprehend violent moped criminals.
“Following months of hard work and dedication carried out by my officers, the organised crime group responsible for a series of dangerous offences across London have been brought to justice.
“They terrified their victims during a number of calculated and violent ordeals and will now spend a significant amount of time behind bars.
“In addition to the pain and distress they caused to so many innocent people over the past two years, the cost of their crime spree is estimated to be approximately half a million pounds.
“I hope today’s sentencing highlights that criminality of this kind will not be tolerated in London.
“We will continue to work tirelessly around the clock to apprehend those involved in these types offences and bring them before the courts.”
A Metropolitan Police officer was recently exonerated of any wrong-doing after he managed to stop another suspect who was trying to flee from the police on a moped in an unrelated incident.
The IOPC forced the Metropolitan Police to undertake the misconduct hearing despite both the CPS and the force itself finding no case for the police officer to answer.