IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Moped crime: Tweet reveals cops’ fury at ‘lenient’ courts

Hastily-deleted post claims prison sentences handed out to thieves let police and public down

16 February, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Pictures of a stop in Penton Rise, Islington, were posted earlier this month

POLICE have let slip how officers feel about “lenient” prison terms for thieves on mopeds.

In a candid post on Twitter, officers reacted to the sentencing of two Islington men behind a series of phone snatches by claiming that the courts were letting the public down.

“Two years and four months! SERIOUSLY!”, a tweet from an official police account said. “We do our job, but courts let US and YOU down by giving such lenient sentences.”

Police tweet that was deleted after Tribune contacted the Met

The exasperation felt in the police battle to halt the epidemic of moped-enabled muggings came from an official Met account in Barnet. It is not known which officers wrote the words.

Police officers across London have been forced to field questions from victims about how the thieves, who speed away from thefts on mopeds, will be stopped. Officers have used “stingers”, which expand across the road, and in some cases tactical manoeuvres to stop thieves.

The tweet was deleted yesterday (Thursday) after the Tribune asked how representative the view was across the force.

Jack Marsh, left, and Jack Burt were each jailed for two years and four months

A judge at Southwark Crown Court had sentenced Jack Burt, 22, and Jack Marsh, 21, to prison terms last Tuesday. They had pleaded guilty to six counts of theft after police recovered 10 mobile phones when searching them following a stop last month. The riders initially failed to stop for police in King’s Cross, so the two mopeds were halted using authorised tactics which led to the arrests.

Several of the phones were identified as being stolen in moped snatches around Westminster, Hackney and the City of London the day before.

Burt, from Angel, and Marsh, of Finsbury, were banned from driving for two years and were given a two-year criminal behaviour order (CBO) excluding them from Westminster on their eventual release from prison.

A 17-year-old from Islington, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged and sentenced at Chelmsford Youth Court to a six-month detention and training order. He received a two-year ban from Westminster and a £30 victim surcharge.

Police have shared pictures of stingers which they say have helped slow down north London’s moped muggers

The police tweet complaining about leniency, a rare departure from the more neutral tone normally used in messages about sentences, had been shared more than 100 times before it was deleted

In another sign of frustration, the account shared the views of a police officer who criticised a stabbing case where a man was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison.

“And yet another lenient sentence!” the police Twitter account said. “The tough-on-knife-crime mantra seems not to have filtered down to the courts… therefore lacking credibility and failing victims and the public.”

A spokesman for the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary said it did not comment on a sentence outside of court. “The judge explains in detail in court his/her reasons,” he added.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “The tweet was deleted as it was deemed inappropriate.”

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