Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Summer Riots Masked Double Arsonist Jailed

An arsonist, who set two businesses ablaze – causing nearly £1.2m worth of damage – during last summer’s riots, has been locked-up for eight years.

Andrew Burls, 23, ( of Purdon House, Peckham was captured on CCTV and targeted by Operation Withern – the police team set-up to hunt down and arrest the rioters.

Officers examined hours of CCTV footage that captured events in the London Borough of Southwark.

They identified a group who moved through Peckham Town Centre on the afternoon and evening of Monday August 8, looting, damaging businesses and private property along the High Street and Rye Lane. 

One masked individual (Burls pic.mid.) was identified committing a number of offences.

During their investigation officers were able to link CCTV footage with witness accounts gathered at the time of the disorder and identified Burls as the suspect in the images. 

Footage shows him making the initial attack on the Iceland store in Rye Lane, smashing and removing a window before entering as part of a large group. 

A fire is then started by Burls at the Post Office, where he is seen placing burning material onto a pile of documents already knocked to the floor. 

Finally Burls is captured walking towards Regens clothing where he is seen brandishing a small yellow object, believed to be a cigarette lighter, shortly before the premises is engulfed in flames. 

The fire spread to Greggs the bakers next door, and the residential flats above which were occupied at the time with residents having to flee their homes. 

Detective Inspector Daniel O'Sullivan said: “Burls's actions during the disorder and criminality we saw in Southwark in August not only showed a complete disregard for the law and his own community, but a total disregard for the lives of the people who lived above the premises he recklessly set alight and the damage he has caused. 

“Today has seen the longest prison sentence given in relation to the disorder in Southwark, which reflects the seriousness of these offences. 

“It is due to the dedication of my team who have worked tirelessly to identify individuals from a huge volume of CCTV footage and those members of the public who valued their community enough to come forward and assist us, that Burls had no choice but plead guilty to these offences.

“Six months on from those events we are still pursuing those individuals and gangs who brought fear and mob mentality to our streets.” 

Officers executed a search warrant at Burls's home address on October 24 where he was arrested and a number of items seized which further linked him to those images.

He was charged the same day. 

At Inner London crown Court he pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered at Post Office, 199-201 Rye Lane, Peckham
and Regans Clothing, 193 Rye Lane, Peckham and burglary, with intent to steal, at Iceland, Rye Lane.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

City Bank Employee Helped Himself To Customers Cash

A HSBC employee raided two accounts at the City branch he worked at out of over £4,000, claiming he had the customers' permission to dip into their accounts whenever he wanted to.

Mark Adam Shipp, 22, of Adelaide Close, Worthing, West Sussex used his staff number and password to transfer sums into his own account and was exposed by an internal probe.

He pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates' Court today to stealing £2,950 from Noor Diab between June 28 and August 9, last year and stealing £1,350 from Mirco Relling on August 15.

Prosecutor Mrs Varinder Hayre told the court: "Mr. Shipp was working at the HSBC branch in Queen Victoria Street and on the second of September, last year there was a complaint from a customer that an unauthorised payment of nearly thirteen hundred pounds had been debited from his account.

"Enquiries revealed Mr. Shipp had used his staff number and password to transfer the sums to his personal account, but the defendant initially said there had to have been a mistake.

"Further investigations revealed three further payments had been credited to Mr. Shipp's account from another customer's, again using his staff number and password."

On September 27 Shipp (pictured) was quizzed by HSBC investigators.

"He claimed he had the verbal authority from the second victim to transfer money from her account," added Mrs Hayre.

"The fraud team met with her and she said she had never given authority to take money from her account."

The bank reported Shipp to police, who questioned the defendant twice.

"Again he said he had an arrangement and was allowed to take as much money as was needed and pay it back whenever he could.

"During the second interview Mr. Shipp said he did not know why he did it and was not that sort of person and had learned his lesson.

"He told police he had lost his job and was now an estate agent and did not want to jeopardise his new job.

"All monies have been reimbursed by Mr. Shipp to the bank," said Mrs Hayre.

Shipp was bailed unconditionally until March 5 for sentencing.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Five Businessmen Accused Of £80M 'Carousel' V.A.T. Conspiracy

Five businessmen plotted together to swindle £80m V.A.T. out of the taxman in an elaborate "carousel" fraud involving mobile phones and computer chips, a jury have been told.

Multiple businesses were involved in the U.K. and on the Continent to constantly trade the high-value electrical goods to generate a higher V.A.T. refund.

"Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are induced to pay out money, which they have not and will never get back," prosecutor Mr. Michael Brompton QC told Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court (pictured).

"These frauds are well-organised and sophisticated and the fraudsters work hard to conceal their efforts.

"An extended chain of supply is established so the goods go through a series of buffer companies so HMRC find it more difficult to trace and the beneficiary can say they did not know what was going on."

In the dock are: Bart Van Laarhoven, 33, of Wellington Square, Chelsea.

Saeed Aamer Mohammed, 38, of James Gray Street, Shawlands, Glasgow.

David Patrick Donnelly, 41, of Fairhaven, Mount Rule, Braddan, Isle of Man.

Satbinderpal Singh Hayre, 46, of Lytham Road, Perton, Wolverhampton.

Muhammad Ghori, 39, of Mitcham Road, Croydon.

All five have pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiring between January 1, 2005 and December 13, 2006 to cheat the public revenue by defrauding them of money charged or reclaimed as V.A.T. on the purported supply of electrical goods.

The prosecution put company boss Van Laarhoven at the head of the plot and describe Donnelly and Hayre as "senior figures" in associated companies involved.

"Donnelly's role was finance principally and Hayre was in charge of trade," explained Mr. Brompton in a trial expected to last over four months.

"Mohammed was also involved in the fraud as an assistant and Ghori, who owns a cargo company, was heavily involved in transport and logistics."

The prosecution say the plot was in two parts, one in August, 2005 and the second between December 2005 and 2006.

"The sale of mobile phones afforded the opportunity for large scale V.A.T. fraud," added the QC. "They are small and of considerable value and the same applies to computer chips."

Money is dishonestly made by importing electoral items at 0% V.A.T. then exporting them within the EU and claiming a V.A.T. rebate.

"That repayment of V.A.T. by HMRC is from what the fraud feeds. It is money down the drain," Mr. Brompton told the jury.

"The greater the number of phones the greater the amount of V.A.T. and in this carousel goods would go around in circles and then back to the U.K."

Sunday, 26 February 2012

English Defence League Activist Jailed For Demo Violence

A notorious English Defence League activist – involved in violent incidents during organised demos – has been jailed for 14 months.

East Londoner John McAndrew, 29, (pictured) of Grange Road, Plaistow was also served with a Conviction Related Antisocial Behaviour Order (CRASBO) banning him from attending any EDL protests or Muslim-affiliated building or event for five years.

He was convicted of affray after throwing large stones onto the busy A4 dual carriageway during rush hour at an EDL demo outside West London Magistrates’ Court (pictured) on May 11, last year.

A month later during an EDL rally in Dagenham on June 18 he was part of a mob that assaulted two men connected to the demo.

McAndrew, who has several public order convictions, will also have to serve part of a suspended sentence for affray, which he breached during the demos.

Police Constable Mark Gellard, of the Barking and Dagenham Anti-Social Behaviour Team, said: “John McAndrew is an individual whose often violent behaviour is linked with his attendance at demonstrations and protests, particularly surrounding the English Defence League. 

“This behaviour affects those who live, work and frequent the areas where some of these demonstrations have taken place.

“I hope today’s Anti-Social Behaviour Order sends a clear message that police will take robust action against those who break the law under the guise of protest.”

The National Domestic Extremism Unit, a national policing unit, supported the application to impose an Anti-Social Behaviour Order upon conviction.

Detective Constable Alison Stuart, from the National Domestic Extremism Unit, said: “The right to protest is a fundamental part of a democratic society, and we seek to strike a balance between the rights of people to protest with the rights of the community to go about its daily business without excessive disruption.

“We have a duty to the wider public to take action against those individuals who have routinely exploited otherwise peaceful protests to create disorder, to prevent them from doing so in the future.”

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sweeney Hunt Bookie Bandits

Flying Squad police are hunting an armed duo who threatened staff at a North London bookmakers at gunpoint – before fleeing with a quantity of cash.

Two hooded men entered Bruce betting shop, Hertford Road, Enfield (pictured) at 2.25pm on February 11 and one remained at the door while his accomplice approached the counter.

He pointed a handgun at staff and demanded cash to be handed over.

The robbers then fled on foot, turning left out of the shop.

Detective Constable Andy Terry of the Flying Squad, said: “This was a busy area at a busy time of day and we are keen to hear from any witnesses.”

The men are described as black, aged 18-20 years, about 5ft 8ins or 5ft 9ins and both wearing dark jackets, hoods and gloves.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Flying Squad on 020 8345 4226 or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Immigration Advisor Signed-On While Orchestrating Fraud

A bogus immigration advisor, who masterminded a large-scale plot to dupe the Home Office into doling out residency permit's to a string of unqualified applicants, has been jailed for seven years.

So successful was the scam - run from a South London one-bedroom flat - many of the clients, mostly from Sierra Leone, went onto legally obtain leave to remain in the U.K. and eventual full citizenship.

Jobless Sierra Leone refugee Winston Kabia, 45, of New Cross Road, New Cross created at least thirty companies while on the dole, which provided fake references and payslips to his clients.

The father-of-six was convicted by a Croydon Crown Court jury on seventeen counts of conspiracy to defraud the Home Office; two counts of giving unauthorised immigration advice and possessing twenty-three genuine identity documents.

Kabia was never properly registered with the Offices of the Immigration Services Commissioner while advising clients at the EU-funded South Thames African Welfare Association.

He helped non-EU immigrants obtain residency permits via marriage to non-UK EU citizens, who had to prove to the Home Office they were employed in this country.

"It seems he must have been at the heart of the conspiracy," announced Judge Nicholas Ainley.

"You were taking money from people trying to get into this country and settle illegally," he told the ex-human rights student. "There was to be a pretence those people were working for companies you set up.

"Wage slips that were bogus were provided and entirely false applications were made," added the judge. "You posed as a lawyer and had a solicitor's certificate hanging on your wall."

The prosecution will pursue confiscation proceedings, which include unexplained sums of £42,000 and £26,000 paid into Kabia's bank account while he was claiming benefits.

Prosecutor Miss Alexandra Felix had told the jury: "In each case the payslip and employment letter is from a company associated with this defendant.

"Those companies, according to HM Revenue and Customs, have no employees."

An Inland Revenue probe revealed Kabia's self-assessment form claimed he received no income between 2002 and 2004, but P.A.Y.E records proved he was paid a total of £39,000.

From 2004 onwards Kabia has claimed jobseekers allowance.

"The Crown says this defendant held himself out as someone permitted to provide immigration advice when he was not authorised to do so," added Miss Felix.

"He aided those not entitled to be in the UK to stay here.

"The fraud that was perpetrated was to obtain a residency permit. They were given a permit obtained fraudulently and were not entitled to be here.

"The fact the fraud was successful is demonstrated by the fact that many applicants became lawful naturalised citizens."

Police raided Kabia's flat in July 2008, December 2008 and January 2010, seizing evidence from a small office.

Kabia received full British citizenship in June 2004 and describes himself as a "social entrepreneur."

Thursday, 23 February 2012

London Development Agency Scandal: Fraudster Jailed For £600,000 Scam

A fraudster, who swindled nearly £600,000 out of the taxpayer-funded London Development Agency during a five-year scam, was jailed for two years and eight months yesterday.

A total of 151 bogus applications were made on behalf of non-existent small businesses seeking finance and rubber-stamped by dishonest staff within the LDA.

Company director Marian Nelson-Addy, 44, of Blackmoor Gate, Furzton, Milton Keynes - boss of Track Record Services (TRS) - pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the LDA between April 1, 2003 and September 30, 2008 and conspiracy to money launder.

Her co-defendants, who were employed by the LDA, denied the plot and were acquitted after the prosecution against them collapsed last year.

TRS submitted applications on behalf of supposedly genuine businesses to the LDA for funding and received £250 if they were accepted plus £600 per day for up to five days for assisting the small firms.

However, a former Barclays Bank employee at the LDA noticed an incorrect address on a bank reference submitted by TRS on behalf of a business and an investigation was launched.

"No listings were found for the firms TRS had applied on behalf of, telephone calls were not answered and a total of eighteen different forged banks references were discovered," prosecutor Miss Alexandra Felix told Croydon Crown Court.

One address used for a bogus company turned out to be a Texaco petrol station and police discovered Nelson-Addy (pictured) would cut and paste company logos from the internet for use in creating forgeries.

She was even convicted of benefit fraud in 2010 for failing to disclose an insurance pay-out after the death of her husband.

A total of £594,000 was paid by the LDA to Nelson-Addy and when her bank account was restrained it contained £197,000. She claims the rest went to her co-defendants.

Police also restrained £37,000 in shares, a pension, her mortgage-free £340,000 house, her Mercedes car and confiscation proceedings will follow.

"The idea and the motivation came from the co-defendants who worked for the LDA," said Mr. Stephen Fiddler, defending. "She asks for compassion. It was not her idea."

Judge Nicholas Ainley said: "TRS was used to process these applications and the defendant was the sole director and bank account signatory.

"TRS made applications on behalf of small businesses that did not exist. In fact all their applications were almost overwhelmingly fraudulent.

"It is obvious she was not acting alone and when the applications were received they were approved by one person at the LDA.

"She was a very major player indeed and was central to the conspiracy. She was an enthusiastic participant who stood to gain so much.

"This was professionally planned and took place over a significant period of time."

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Dog-Breeders Fined For Stuffing Terriers Into Hot Removal Lorry

Two prize-winning dog breeders have been convicted on animal welfare charges after loading 13 pedigree Airedale terriers into the back of a poorly-ventilated removal van in sweltering heat.

The couple, Alan Weatherley, 65, and Julie Weatherely,59, of Beech Hill Cottage, Misson Springs, Doncaster, South Yorkshire were swooped on by police while moving from their former home.

The Kennel Club-accredited breeders, who placed at Crufts in 2005, fought the case, but were convicted at Croydon Magistrates' Court of failing in their duty to ensure animal welfare in Avenue Road, Belmont, Surrey on August 2, last year.

In 28.8 degree heat all the dogs (pictured) were unloaded into the street and the Weatherley's were forced to make the 200 mile journey without them.

The animals were temporarily rehoused by the police.

Prosecutor Mr. Sam Clyndes told the court: "Police were called to the defendants address and outside was a large van.

"In the back of the van were stacks of cages containing the dogs who were moving to Doncaster.

"The dogs were not in a suitable environment and given the heat of the day and the fact they were not provided with water meant they suffered further."

Concerned neighbours raised the alarm and police unloaded the van and gave the dogs water, telling the court the terriers "lapped up" the refreshment.

A police dog handler said the animals should not have remained in such conditions for more than twenty minutes and estimated the Doncaster journey time at five hours.

"Some of these dogs must have been in there for quite a considerable time, certainly more than twenty minutes," said Mr. Clyndes.

"You can come to the conclusion they may have been suffering," he told the magistrates. "They may have been dehydrated, which is illustrated by the fact they lapped up the water when they were removed from the van."

Mr. Weatherley told the court he planned to stop every thirty minutes to walk the dogs during the long journey and was trying to avoid over-watering them before setting-off.

"We have taken them to and from shows in these cages before without any problems," he said. "We were moving to larger kennels and a happier environment for the dogs.

"The dog-handler suggested we hire two mini-buses and take the seats out, but I don't think the hire company would be very happy about that.

"They were put in the van to get them off the premises. That is not how they were going to travel.

"We were going to walk and feed them and load them into the van later when it was cooler."

He denied dehydrating the dogs. "In hot weather you must not give them copious amounts of water. That is just as dangerous as not giving them enough water.

"They were used to travelling in these cages and they were not stressed at all. Air-conditioned vans do not exist."

However, Mr. Clyndes rejected the defendant's explanation suggesting: "You, Mr. Weatherley decided cost and time would take priority over the welfare of the dogs."

The magistrates convicted the couple on one charge each under the Animal Welfare Act and Mr. Weatherley was fined £175, with £400 costs and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

His wife was fined £100, with £200 costs and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Consultant Harassed Ex With Gay Smears After Bitter Divorce

A respected consultant haematologist, waged a gay smear campaign against her doctor ex-husband, after feeling she was cheated out of £430,000 in their bitter divorce.

Dr. Finella Brito-Babapulle, 56, suggested his new girlfriend was a Bangkok ladyboy and sneaked notes into her children's Christmas gifts to the woman, which read: "Once a gay. Always a gay."

The mother-of-three, of West Park Road, Richmond, who was a blood-specialist at Ealing Hospital, was convicted of harassment against her ex - Dr. Mark Layton - also a consultant haematologist between September 19, 2010 and March 29, last year.

She lost an appeal at Southwark Crown Court last Thursday and was conditionally discharged for two years; served with a five-year restraining order banning her from contacting her ex and his girlfriend and ordered to pay £620 costs.

The couple, who have three children aged between 21 and 17, split in 2008 after twenty years together and Dr. Brito-Babapulle (pictured) took the divorce settlement all the way to the Court of Appeal.

She included a second Christmas note, which read: "I am happy for you both. I just want back the four hundred and thirty thousand you stole from me in the divorce."

In a series of emails and texts to Dr. Layton and to friends, family and professional colleagues Dr. Brita-Babapulle accused her ex of gay affairs and cruising notorious pick-up haunts.

She told the court it was her ex-husband who was bitter over the divorce and invented the charges to punish her.

"His strategy was to nail his ex-wife who now has to go before the General Medical Council with this criminal conviction.

"He was very unhappy because he did not get one of my two London houses.

"This is a man who did not buy his wife a wedding ring, but would rather give her a criminal record.

"He is financially driven and found his new girlfriend on a website called millionaires dot com."

Dr. Layton received half of the proceeds of the family home, which Dr. Brita-Babapulle claims she bought in full, then stashed the money in a secret Swiss bank account, according to the defendant.

She repeated her unfounded gay slurs in court claiming: "He was gay when we met. He had a long-standing relationship with a man.

"There was a period of despair and amazement in the family at what I had discovered and then a fascination with this alternative lifestyle. After that we used to laugh and joke about it."

Dr. Brita-Babapulle instigated divorce proceedings. "I did so with a heavy heart after he refused to come to counselling for his addiction to gay sex."

She denied her texts, emails and notes amounted to harassment insisting: "They were not meant to be harmful. I thought his new partner should know he was gay."

In one email Dr. Brita-Babapulle wrote: "This stupid woman thinks she is having sex with a heterosexual."

The defendant also pointed the finger at her ex-husband after she was burgled on the same day as her arrest and later punched by two mystery men in Kew.

"I live in fear of my life," she told the court. "I am the only person who has been assaulted in Kew in the last fifteen years."

Recorder Alexander Layton, dismissed the appeal and told Dr. Brita-Babapulle: "Your behaviour is distressing and distressed. There are no winners here.

"It is a distressing state of family affairs paraded before us today."

Monday, 20 February 2012

Pensioner Tragically Killed In Hit-And-Run

Police are still hunting the killer of a West London pensioner – who was struck by a stolen VW Golf in a hit-and-run – as he exited his own car.

A manslaughter investigation was launched after the death of retired Hayes mechanical engineer Roberto Da Silva, 70, (pictured) who was fatally injured on February 7.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Lawrence from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command said: “We are keen to speak to anyone in the area who either saw the Volkswagen Golf being driven prior the collision, saw the people responsible running away afterwards or may know who is responsible. Please come forward.

“I would urge anyone with information to please contact the Incident Room at Belgravia on 020 7321 7228, or if you wish to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Police were contacted at 6.53pm February 7, by a man who saw his VW Golf being driven away with keys burglars snatched from inside his house.

A police car began following the VW Golf in Dawley Road, Hayes and began to follow, but called-off the pursuit after colliding with another car.

Four minutes later the stolen car crashed into Mr. Da Silva’s vehicle as he was exiting his own car in Moray Avenue and two men fled on foot.

Mr Da Silva, originally of Cape Verde, died at the scene. 

A post-mortem examination held at Uxbridge Mortuary found the cause of death was severe trauma to the spine.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Police Hunt Riot Hoodies After Driver Injured By Brick

Police are hunting five suspects after a lorry driver’s skull was fractured by a brick hurled through his windscreen during last summer’s so-called English riots.

Manuel Silva, 45, (pictured) needed a metal plate inserted into his skull and suffered blurred vision and migraines and is now permanently scarred.

Five hooded black youths, who were in Prince Regents Lane, Canning Town at 4.45pm on August 9, are wanted by police.

Two teens from the group threw a large brick through his windscreen and others joined in, throwing more bricks and smashing all the vehicle’s windows.

One brick hit Mr. Silva in his head, resulting in a serious head injury.

He remembers feeling a sharp pain from his forehead and touching his head to feel blood pouring from a wound.

In shock he quickly drove away from the scene fearing for his life and spotted uniformed officers who provided first aid. 

MR. Silva underwent a complex operation for a fractured skull and had a metal plate inserted in his skull as part of the procedure.

He was unable to work for two months, causing him great financial difficulty. 

He has now made a full recovery, but the scar remains.

Detective Constable David Tate of Operation Withern based at Newham said: “This was a serious unprovoked assault on a hard-working innocent man trying to get on with his job.

“He received extensive injuries leaving him unable to work and facing massive financial problems as a result. 

“There would have been lots of people in the area at the time of the assault and I appeal for any witnesses to come forward and assist police in catching those responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable David Tate on 02072754353 or if you wish to remain anonymous please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.