Forest Gate boys, 16, jailed for violent moped robberies

John Smith and Shemar Williams

John Smith and Shemar Williams - Credit: MPS

Two 16-year-olds who used mopeds to violently rob women of their handbags have been handed custodial sentences.

John Smith, of Romford Road, Forest Gate, and Shemar Williams, of Chestnut Avenue, Forest Gate, also robbed other riders of their mopeds over a two-week period in October and November last year.

The pair, who can be named after a judge lifted reporting restrictions, had both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob at an earlier hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The court heard how their victims were either riders of mopeds who were robbed of their bikes, or women whose bags were forcibly taken after the pair had ridden behind them.

Smith and Williams’ string of offending, which saw 34 offences take place across Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, was such that a police unit dedicated to investigating the series of robberies was set up.

All but two of the robberies were carried out at night and often a weapon such as a hammer or a knife was used.

Violence was often used and one man was hospitalised after being robbed of his moped.

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On Friday, Smith was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with a further two years on licence when released.

Williams was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and was further sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment consecutively for two separate knife-point robberies.

Det Supt Raffaele D’Orsi said: “I want to commend my colleagues from the borough who secured this successful conviction.

“Their work in this case has led to two dangerous individuals being taken off the streets; ultimately stopping them from committing more offences and causing serious injury to potential victims.”

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