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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 July 2005, 21:44 GMT 22:44 UK
Leon Willoughby

Leon Willoughby

Leon is 20 years old. He is serving 12 years for armed robbery, carjacking and aggravated burglary.

Aged 17 he caught on camera as part of an undercover Police operation as he and his gang mates were on their way to another armed robbery. Over a five week period, they stole three hundred and fifty thousand pounds worth of high-performance cars at gunpoint, without a care for their victims.

"We'd break in the early hours of the morning, break in... kick off the doors, run into the house, drag people out their beds and we'd rob them... cars, money, jewellery, things like that. We were armed. They were scared, terrified for their life: screaming, crying... 'please don't kill me', I heard all sorts of stuff. Kids were there at certain houses, but at the time we just didn't care."

"Whenever I thought back to something I'd done yeah it's like I'd almost find it funny. I'd look back on it like you know that was a good chase or got into that house quick and that, and see the look on that person's face sort of thing. But this was probably the most terrifying experience of these people's lives."

"But to me it was just nothing. It was just a means of getting money and that and enjoying myself at the same time and that... one big buzz."

He remembers how he felt about those who chose not to get involved in crime and violence and instead chose to do legal jobs, even if they didn't pay as much as crime.

"You see them to Pizza Hut and I'd see guys I knew working in there. I'd just think it was kind of pathetic; going through school and got all your GCSEs and that and you're working in Pizza Hut. I didn't finish school and I got all this money and I'm enjoying myself and that you know. I know he's not enjoying himself working in Pizza Hut."

"I felt sorry for them. I thought they were wasting their lives. Now when I look back on it now, I'm jail, they're not. So I guess you can see who picked the right the choice."

Watch a clip from Leon Willoughby's interview with Panorama


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