Newham bus robbery gang are behind bars

‘Public are becoming scared by such crimes’ says judge

� A six-strong gang who stalked buses snatching smart phones from unsuspecting travellers have been locked up.

The Somali youths - five from Newham - preyed on top-deck passengers using high-value iPhones or Samsung Galaxy handsets.

In their month-long spree, one member would snatch the phone while another blocked the victim.

Three of the gang also violently robbed a victim they found walking along High Street South, East Ham, before attempting to wrench his phone from him.

Ringleader Ahmed Hassan, 17, of Dongola Road West, Plaistow, was detained for three years.

Yousef Ali, 18, of Stondown Walk, East Ham got two years jail; Aidid Aidid, 18, of Denbigh Road, East Ham, 28 months and Hamza Duale, 18, of Fothergill Close, Plaistow 16 months.

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Abdirahman Mumin, 19, of Pulleyns Avenue, East Ham, received 12 months for the street attack while Mikhall Ahmed, 17, from Clapton was ordered to be detained for 12 months.

Sentencing Judge Roger Chapple said the attacks were planned, premeditated and organised. He said little force was used but as there were several youths used it meant the losers saw little point in pursuing their property.

The offences were aggravated by the fact that they took place on buses at night.

“The travelling public are becoming more fearful of using public transport because of crimes such as these,” he said. “No great city can properly function if people are too scared to use public transport.”

At Inner London Crown Court, prosecutor Jonathan Polnay described the gang as “semi-professional”. All were identified from CCTV on the buses.

Ali admitted three counts of theft and three robberies; Aidid, and Duale both pleaded guilty to two thefts and two robberies; Mumin admitted a single robbery while Hassan, admitted four robberies and four thefts.

Ahmed, admitted two robberies and five thefts.

Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor, Safer Transport Command, said:

“Thanks to the hard work of the officers in this case and the use of on-bus CCTV these suspects have now been brought to justice. All six suspects clearly acted as a gang using their strength in numbers to their advantage so that they could carry out their crimes and intimidate their victims if challenged.”

Steve Burton, Transport for London’s Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, said: “The jail sentences handed down to these criminals reflect the seriousness of their offences. We are glad that they will not be in a position to continue with their criminal activity.”