Brent detectives snared gunpoint brothel robbers who struck across London

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher

Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher - Credit: Archant

Every week Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher, Brent Police borough commander, writes a column to inform Times readers about the latest policing activity happening in the borough. Today he talks about recent success stories.

This week I want to highlight a recent success my officers had at court and ask for your continued support to make Brent safer.

Three men were recently jailed for a total of 32 years for carrying out a linked series of violent gunpoint robberies across London.

Between March and June 2014, the defendants carried out a series of robbery and burglary offences, targeting brothels. A total of 13 offences were committed across the boroughs of Westminster, Harrow, Barnet, Brent, Kensington and Chelsea and Hounslow.

My officers identified the linked series, investigated the offences and charged the suspects.

The suspects denied any involvement and pleaded not guilty. However, after a three-week trial the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts.

The court had heard that the three men were highly organised and each offence involved a significant amount of planning.

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The men would identify the premises on the internet and visit them, posing as clients, after arranging an appointment.

They would force entry and once inside, would threaten the occupants with violence. Some victims were held at knifepoint with weapons being held to their throats or guns to their heads.

During the investigation a total of 96 witnesses were identified for the prosecution case, a significant number of these were initially very reluctant to assist.

My officers reassured them and supported them through the criminal justice process, enabling the convictions to be secured. Without the assistance of these witnesses the suspects would not have been brought to justice.

A number of brothels were identified during this investigation and have now been closed, utilising powers conferred from the policing and crime act.

We are also working with the local authority and charitable groups to divert the sex workers away from this situation.

I need your continued help to keep telling us who is committing crime and what venues are being used for illegal purposes? It is important: if you see a crime or have concerns about criminality, then speak to us.

If you have any information about crime in Brent, we will act. You can call us on Crimestoppers (0800 555 111), 101, or your local Safer Neighbourhood Team Teams can be accessed via the Met Police Website (www.met.police.cu.uk). In an emergency, call 999.

For daily updates and information about what is happening in Brent, you can follow us on Twitter at @MPSBrent

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