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Conmen posed as police in Budgens robbery, court hears

PUBLISHED: 10:58 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:29 07 September 2010

Ben McPartland A SOPHISTICATED gang of robbers posed as police to trick their way into a Belsize Park supermarket, a court has heard. Four men conned their way into Budgens in Haverstock Hill, handcuffed a member of staff and demanded the key to the tills

Ben McPartland

A SOPHISTICATED gang of robbers posed as police to trick their way into a Belsize Park supermarket, a court has heard.

Four men conned their way into Budgens in Haverstock Hill, handcuffed a member of staff and demanded the key to the tills, Blackfriars Crown Court was told.

But they had to make do with stealing £100 cash, bank cards and a mobile phone from the worker's wallet as the manager, who held the keys, had not arrived for work.

One of the gang is alleged to have been James Williams, 49, of Marquis Road, Camden, who went on trial this week accused of the robbery on October 12 2008.

Williams was a trusted member of the gang, prosecuting barrister Camilla Da Silva said.

"This defendant is part of a well-planned sophisticated enterprise whose members had access to police uniforms and vehicles to use in their criminal activities," she said.

The four arrived at Budgens at 8am, showed false police ID cards and asked to be let in, the jury was told.

When the door was opened, they immediately told the shocked shop worker he was under arrest, it is alleged.

He was kneed in the back by one of the robbers, handcuffed and threatened with being beaten up if he moved, the court heard.

The worker was ushered into Budgens' CCTV office. But after being left alone, he was able to lock himself in the room and call the police. The robbers fled before genuine police officers arrived.

CCTV images show Williams along with the rest of the team standing outside Budgens before they were allowed in, say the prosecution.

Williams is also accused of a robbery at Marigold Health Foods warehouse in Camley Street, Camden Town, on September 10 2008.

He is alleged to have been a member of a gang who turned up in police uniforms claiming they were investigating a report of a firearm on the premises.

Three members of staff, including warehouse owner Patrick Tobin, were then handcuffed, the court heard.

The robbers got away with £800 before the alarm was raised.

Traces of DNA found on a cigarette and a soft drinks bottle in the jeep allegedly used in the robbery were an exact match to Williams's, the jury was told.

Terence Ellis, another member of the gang, has already pleaded guilty to the Marigold Health Foods robbery.

In August, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for the robbery and another one at Verizon business centre in St Pancras Way.

Williams denies two counts of robbery. The trial continues.

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