Eight-years for Forest Gate robber

A man who targeted East Ham bookmakers in a series of armed robberies has been jailed for eight years.

Keith Donaldson-Jones, 43, of Forest Gate, pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery and three counts of possessing an imitation firearm between January 4 and January 25 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one charge of possession of a bladed weapon relating to an unrelated offence.

His conviction at Inner London Crown Court follows a successful initiative by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Flying Squad and partners in the betting industry. The scheme, called Operation Betguard, saw the photographs of a number of outstanding suspects circulated in east London and several members of the public immediately recognised Donaldson-Jones.

Donaldson-Jones and an unnamed accomplice entered a Ladbrokes branch on East Ham High Street on January 4 2010. Donaldson-Jones, who had concealed his face, approached the front counter with a rucksack and demanded mone. In his right hand he was brandishing a brown paper bag which the cashier believed was used to conceal a firearm. Fearing for her life, she handed over around �1,500 in cash. Donaldson-Jones and his accomplice then left the premises.

Two subsequent robberies on January 18 and January 25 followed a similar pattern, with Donaldson-Jones entering separate East Ham Ladbrokes branches. He would threaten staff before escaping with cash.

Donaldson-Jones was interviewed by officers from the Flying Squad in April 2011 and he was subsequently charged.

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Officers are still looking for Donaldson-Jones’s accomplice.

Detective Constable Nick Pollard of the Flying Squad, in Barking, said: “These robberies were terrifying for the staff involved who genuinely feared for their lives.

“Initiatives like Operation Betguard prove that the MPS will go to great lengths to track down people like Donaldson-Jones.”