A detective’s quick thinking, resulting in suspects wanted for a knifepoint robbery in Bedford being apprehended, has led to four men being jailed.
The men were today (Friday) sentenced to over 15 years’ imprisonment for the robbery in Grafton Road, after they followed a man as he left a betting shop and stole his winnings.
Damaine Harding, 21, of Monmouth Close, Bedford, was found guilty of robbery and sentenced to five years in prison.
Shaquil Brown, 21, of Poppyfields in Bedford, was found guilty of robbery, possession of offensive weapon and breaching a criminal behaviour order, and was sentenced to five years in jail.
Kayleam Rooney, 19, of Magpie Gardens, Wixams, near Bedford, was found guilty of robbery, and actual bodily harm in relation to a separate offence, and was sentenced to four years in jail.
Levi Sinko, 21, from Bedford, was also found guilty of robbery and sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.
All were convicted of stealing a significant sum of money, after following the victim as he left the Paddy Power bookmakers at Allhallows in Bedford, at around 9pm on Wednesday, 6 September 2017.
The victim had been making his way to the Grafton Hotel in Grafton Road. Approaching the hotel, he was surrounded by the group, who threatened him with a knife and demanded he hand over his winnings.
After being disturbed by another person, the men then fled.
CCTV footage from the hotel, viewed by officers in the immediate aftermath of the incident, showed a group of men trailing the victim shortly before the incident took place.
Hours after the incident, CCTV operators notified officers that a man matching the description of Rooney had been seen getting in a taxi in Bedford, which was subsequently stopped by officers who then arrested him.
The following day Detective Constable Andy Boston, from Bedfordshire Police, was conducting enquiries in Bedford town centre in relation to the robbery and spotted Harding and Brown on Midland Road, identifying them from CCTV footage already obtained.
After contacting the CCTV control room to inform them of the pair’s movements, DC Boston then calculated where they were heading and intercepted the suspects, managing to apprehend the pair along with support from nearby officers, where they uncovered a substantial amount of cash.
While under arrest, Brown attempted to dispose of a knife at the police station, which was noticed by staff.
Despite denying responsibility for the robbery, Harding and Rooney were convicted earlier this month following a three-day trial. Sinko and Brown had pleaded guilty at an earlier date.
DC Boston, speaking following the sentencing, said: “We are glad that this dangerous group are now in prison and away from harming the public any further. They clearly saw an easy opportunity to profit from a man’s good fortune, and were prepared to do anything to take his money.
“This was a great team effort from the force and I would like to commend the victim for his courage in coming forward and helping to bring these men to justice.
“As a force we are absolutely committed to catching offenders linked to robbery and burglary crime, as demonstrated by our recent Operation Maze drive and our ongoing Operation Fidelity campaign, and we will continue pushing to bring these people to justice.”
The sentencing comes as Bedfordshire Police has been supporting Operation Sceptre, a week-long, nation-wide operation dedicated to tackling knife crime.
Report information about knife crime via the force’s online reporting centre, by calling 101 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.