UK & World News
Pyjamas 'Selfie' Led To Armed Robbers' Capture
A gang of armed robbers were caught when one of them posed for photos dressed in the same pair of cartoon sheep pyjama bottoms he had worn during one of the raids.
The men created a Blackberry Messenger group called Armed Robbers and took several pictures of themselves, including one showing one of them wearing a balaclava and posing with a handgun, a police spokesman said.
Terry Sullivan, 24, Thomas Balderston, 24, and Christopher Heath, 31, all of Ernest Road, Chatham, and Christopher Aldred, 23, of Kellaway Road, Chatham, were convicted at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday.
They terrified staff in seven newsagents in Kent and Sussex by wearing balaclavas, brandishing knives, and in some instances a handgun, stealing money from the safe and taking cigarettes, scratch cards and stamps between April and June last year.
Police said they also attacked a house in Boston, Lincolnshire, with the intention of stealing from the owner but she fought them off and they fled the scene.
A Kent Police spokesman said: "Despite trying to avoid detection some of the men could not keep their actions to themselves, creating a Blackberry Messenger group named Armed Robbers and taking numerous 'selfies', one of which showed them posing with a handgun."
Detectives raided Sullivan's home and found images on his mobile phone of him posing in the same bright blue pyjama bottoms, covered with pictures of cartoon sheep, worn in one of the robberies.
Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate arrested the men who were charged with possessing a firearm with the intention of committing an offence and conspiracy to rob.
Heath and Sullivan admitted their guilt at Maidstone Crown Court and Balderston and Aldred were found guilty following a trial.
Detective sergeant Andy Nicoll said: "The crimes carried out by these four men were violent and often terrified the victims.
"The offenders were forceful, threatening and brazen and left the staff in those shops feeling that if they did not comply, then serious harm would come to them.
"Despite showing a level of forensic awareness some of the men became sloppy, taking selfies on their mobile phones.
"Whether this was narcissistic or not, it became their downfall and before long there was a wealth of unquestionable evidence stacking up against them.
"The men's desire to parade themselves as gangsters ultimately led them to jail."
The gang will be sentenced next month.