Teenage scooter gang ram-raided designer clothes shop in Hampstead

Linea in Heath Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Linea in Heath Street. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Two teenagers who ram-raided a designer clothes boutique in Hampstead before driving their moped into a police car as they tried to escape have been convicted of burglary.

The youths, who cannot be named as they are under 18, were found guilty of a string of offences at Highbury Corner Youth court last Thursday (September 12).

They were part of a scooter gang who tried to smash their way into Linea in Heath Street – which sells luxury brands costing hundreds per item – in the early hours of June 11.

Witnesses said the shopfront was repeatedly rammed by about eight culprits on four mopeds, who smashed the windows but struggled to break down the metal shutters inside.

Two officers arrived within minutes and the bikes sped off, but one of them collided with the police car while fleeing and toppled over.

The trial heard that the driver, 16, dashed off towards Hampstead Tube station but was chased into an alleyway by Pc Oliver Pailes.

Pc Pailes then tried to rugby tackle the teenager to the ground, but his momentum caused the pair to smash through a wooden garage wall.

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The 16-year-old, from Tottenham, then punched the Pc in the face, as he struggled to break free from his clutches, before he was restrained and handcuffed.

As well as burglary, he was found guilty of assaulting a police officer and stealing the Yamaha moped, while he admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance.

His pillion passenger, 17, from Finsbury Park, was convicted of burglary and allowing himself to be carried on the stolen vehicle.

Video footage taken from the police officers’ car showed the moped colliding with the vehicle and the 17-year-old dropping a large white bag as he ran off.

Both teenagers denied any involvement in the burglary, saying they were simply out on a “joyride” and just happened to be passing.

They said they ran off because they did not know the officers, who were in an unmarked car and not in uniform, were police.

The 16-year-old, who is a keen motorbike enthusiast, claimed he found the moped abandoned near some bins and had fixed it up by installing new spark plugs and adding oil and petrol.

The 17-year-old added that he was holding the white sack not to bag up goods, but because it had gotten tangled up in the bike and he had to remove it.

Lead magistrate Alan Donovan said their accounts were “totally unconvincing”.

Nothing was taken from the shop, but owner Moreno Ferraro estimated the bill for fixing the damage at between £400 and £600.

The pair will be sentenced next month.