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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Violent carjacking gang is jailed
Ryan Rance (L), Gary Harwood (C) and Mark Toth (R)
The gang wore hoods and caps while committing their crimes
A gang of robbers who used "gratuitous violence" to terrorise people living in the suburbs have been jailed.

London's Blackfriars Crown Court heard the gang pocketed an estimated 350,000 during a six-month spree targeting jewellers and hijacking expensive cars.

Mark Toth and Ryan Rance, both 20 and from west London, were jailed for five and four years respectively.

Gary Harwood, 19, also of west London, was sentenced to two and a half years in a young offenders' institution.

Toth of Shrewsbury Street, Notting Hill, Rance, of West Row, Ladbroke Grove and Harwood, of Sutton Way, Notting Hill, all admitted one count of conspiracy to rob.

Meticulous planning

The trio, and several other gang members still on the run, were linked to a total of 54 offences between January and June 2005, 11 of them in one day.

At one stage during their crime spree they were thought to be stealing one car every night.

Their favoured ploy was to use a stolen car to either follow their target home or to a quiet street, before blocking them in and attacking them.

These victims must have been very badly terrorised and I have no doubt that the trauma of it will be with them for the rest of their lives
Judge Deva Pillay

Their most brutal attack was on a 45-year-old man and his girlfriend who they followed from a restaurant in Kensington, in his TVR sports car, to his home in Bayswater, west London.

They used a stolen car to corner the couple before smashing the windows with a hammer and hitting them both in the face.

Attempts to drag the woman from the car failed when the driver managed to accelerate and force them to let go.

The gang also targeted a jewellers in Esher, Surrey, where they smashed a display window with a sledgehammer and stole seven Rolex watches worth about 30,000.

They also stole a 3,000 Cartier watch after cornering a Porsche driver at his home in Hampstead, north-west London.

Passing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Deva Pillay told the trio the offences they carried out were usually "meticulously planned".

"These victims must have been very badly terrorised and I have no doubt that the trauma of it will be with them for the rest of their lives," he said.

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