Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Battering Ram Gang

This team of armed robbers showed that whatever London blaggers can do, so can any team around the country.  Their modus operandi was to to use a flatbed truck with a battering ram firmly attached, to smash their way into any security vans, and even the depots where the cash was stored ready for delivery.  They were not wasting their time storming into banks.  When they burst into the depots, staff were held at gunpoint, and compliance was soon received with a gun to the head.  They really meant business.  Staff ended up extremely traumatised after these raids.  The first raid took place in Liverpool, at a Tesco store when a security van was delivering.  The van was rammed and cash taken.  Then another robbery took place in Salford, at an Armaguard depot, which a hole was smashed through a wall.  The two robberies combined came to £750,000.  Two very substantial hauls.  The Police set up Operation Jaguar, targeting the gang.

    Police had a stroke of luck after considerable time was spent getting nothing.  The flatbed truck was traced to an industrial estate in Bolton, and a welder named David Fletcher.  A hidden camera recorded everybody going into the unit.  But suddenly the gang was active again.  They went all the way down to Dartford in Kent, and struck at a Securicor depot, smashing their way in with a battering ram.  They fired shots to frighten the staff away and escaped with £435,000.  Police had already started to identify individuals, including Lawrence Brown, Kevin Kennedy, Graham Dorrian and a man from Birmingham named Scroggie.  One of the gang being closely watched, was seen climbing onto a roof of an industrial unit in Salford, and breaking in.  Surveillance was kept on the unit, and soon a lorry was driven inside.  Over time, various members were seen going in and out.  More preparations were in order.  Cops broke in at night to check what was happening, and found that a ram built inside the back, ready to be extended for use.  But where were they going to strike next?

    The target was another Securicor depot, this time down in Poole, Dorset.  Police contacted security companies in the area and found there were three potential depot targets.  Staff were warned to secure everywhere, lock themselves in Secure rooms with telephones ready.  The robbers struck, but as they burst in, they found a security door, firmly down.  Nobody was about.  They fired shots at the door in order to intimidate staff, but they stayed out of harms reach.  Police were unable to arrest the team as the truck blocked the way, and the robbers jumped into a BMW they used as a getaway vehicle.  But the car inexplicably broke down, so they ran through the streets until they came across a car with two men and a woman in it.  They forced them out at gunpoint.  These were actually local cops who were armed, and the woman initially thought of drawing her gun but quickly changed her mind.  The robbers did not know that the boot was full of powerful weapons and ammunition.  This car was abandoned and they made their way back to the north.  Two were seen getting on a train at Euston Station.  

    Police officers joined the train at Crewe station and actually sat next to them.  They left the train at Wilmslow, but cops lost them.  They were spotted in Manchester, near Oxford Station, and it was here that they were arrested.  Two members of the gang fled but were extradited back to England and seven stood trial in Manchester.  The mastermind was a man called David Hill, and as the organiser, he drew the heaviest sentence; 20 years.  Police were able to recover over £1.1,000,000.  The gang used a man called Jason Metcalfe to help launder the money through betting shops and at race meetings.  He was jailed for his part.  What would have been funny, was seeing Norman Parker standing on the sidelines at these raids, screaming, "all robberies outside London, HAVE to have a Londoner on them!"  He spouted bilge that nobody could pull a blag outside the Capital without a London villain on it.  Yeah right.