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Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 18:09 GMT
'Prada Mob's' 2m crime wave
Prada shoe
Victims noticed the Prada trainers favoured by the gang
A gang of robbers, who were nicknamed The Prada Mob because of their taste in footwear, face lengthy jail sentences after an eight-month crime spree.

Harrow Crown Court in north London heard the gang searched the West End for likely victims in expensive cars before following them home.

Dozens were attacked on their doorsteps before their houses were ransacked for valuables.

On Friday, three members of the gang were found guilty of conspiracy to rob between May and December 2002.

Two others admitted the conspiracy at an earlier hearing.

The court heard that in the worst case Lady Homa Alliance lost uninsured Iranian gold coins and jewellery worth 1.3m from her Chelsea home.

Most of the items were in a safe which she was forced to open after being threatened with having a finger cut off.

They threatened and terrorised their prey, some of them lone women
Detective Chief Inspector Michael Gates

The Ugandan High Commissioner George Kirya was punched to the ground on his doorstep in Hampstead and a Rolex watch torn from his wrist.

Police initially had few leads because the gang was careful to wear gloves and masks, leaving no forensic evidence.

But a number of the victims described one of the robbers as wearing a red stripe on his expensive trainers.

Officers managed to identify likely suspects and the records of tens of thousands of mobile telephone calls were examined allowing detectives to put the suspects in the areas where the robberies were carried out.

Colin Mortley, 24, from Bedfont, Middlesex, Paul Murray, 25, from Notting Hill, west London and Daniel, Brown, 25 also from Notting Hill, were warned they faced "substantial" jail terms.

'Reign of terror'

They will be sentenced on 17 November alongside the gang's "mastermind" Darren Mentore, 22, from Holloway, north London, and Leon Peter, 27, from Hackney, east London.

Both had admitted the conspiracy charges as well as four "substantive" counts of linked robberies.

Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Michael Gates said: "This was a reign of terror.

"They threatened and terrorised their prey, some of them lone women. A number of their victims remain traumatised to this day."

He said since the arrests there had been no further similar crimes in London.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC London's Guy Smith
"Five young criminals who loved to live the high life."



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