Gang of armed robbers caught after posing for “selfies”
A gang of four thieves who took part in a series of violent robberies were found guilty at Maidstone Crown Court on 18th October 2013. The thieves took money, cigarettes, scratch cards and stamps from convenience stores and newsagents across Kent and Sussex. The men terrified staff wearing balaclavas and brandishing knives and a handgun. They created a Blackberry Messenger group named “armed robbers” taking numerous “selfies”, one of which showed them posing with a handgun.
Above: One of the thieves wore distinctive pyjamas during the robberies
Below: A “selfie” wearing the same pyjamas (both images from Kent Police)
When detectives raided the home of Terry Sullivan, one of the suspects, they seized a number of items including mobile phones. After examining one of the phones the found a number of images of Sullivan posing in the same pyjamas covered in cartoon monkeys used in the robberies.
“The crimes carried out by these four men were violent and often terrified the victims. The offenders were forceful”
Police Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate arrested five men for the series of robberies which began in April 2012. Officers viewed hours of CCTV footage during their painstaking enquires and the five were charged with possessing a firearm with intention to commit an offence and conspiracy to rob.
Detective Sergeant Andy Nicoll of Kent Police commented “The crimes carried out by these four men were violent and often terrified the victims. The offenders were forceful, threatening and brazen and left the staff in those shops feeling that if they did not comply, then serious harm would come to them. Despite showing a level of forensic awareness some of the men became sloppy, taking ‘selfies’ on their mobile phones.”
The five men were:
Christoper Heath, 31, previously of Ernest Road, Chatham (image from Kent Police)
Thomas Balderston, 24, previously of Ernest Road, Chatham (image from Kent Police)
Terry Sullivan, 24, previously of Ernest Road, Chatham (image from Kent Police)
Christopher Aldred, 23, previously of Kellaway Road, Chatham (image from Kent Police)
And Daniel Jarret, 24, previously of Maida Road, Chatham.
Heath and Sullivan admitted their guilt before Maidstone Crown Court previously while Balderston and Aldred protested their innocence but were eventually found guilty by a jury on Friday 18th October. The jury were unable to reach a verdict regarding Daniel Jarret.