Four men including a Croydon resident have been jailed over a series of armed robberies in South London and beyond.

The group of four men were sentenced to over 70 years’ imprisonment in total at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday (October 1), following an investigation led by the Met’s Flying Squad.

A spokesperson for the Met Police described the widespread criminality the convicted criminals were involved in.

"Between January and December 2018, the group were involved in 22 armed robberies and two attempted robberies.

"The gang targeted Co-Operative and One Stop stores, using knives and guns to threaten staff before tying them up and stealing large quantities of cash, tobacco and alcohol.

"In addition to targeting stores in London and the south-east, the gang carried out raids in Bristol on April 16 and July 14, in Bicester on June 17 , in Rugby on November 4, in Towcester on November 26 and in Leighton Buzzard on December 9.

"During their 12-month crime spree, the gang stole more than £100,000 in cash and alcohol and tobacco worth £15,000 from the stores," the spokesperson said.

With the criminals behind bars, the Met revealed their identities, with one of the guilty named as Croydon resident Clleon Smith, 32, who pleaded guilty on March 15 to 11 counts of conspiracy to commit robbery.

He was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months’ imprisonment, the Met said.

Additionally, the following men were sentenced to jail time:

Shane Wilson, 40, from the Solon New Road Estate, pleaded guilty on March 21 to 24 counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment.

Joel Rene Derriviere, 45, from Lambeth pleaded guilty on April 1 to ten counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.

Samuel Kenneth Bernard, 56, from Camberwell was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to commit robbery following a three-week long trial. He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.

Three of the men sentenced yesterday were arrested back in December after police successfully foiled what they said was an attempted robbery.

"Officers observed three of the men travel from Brixton to Fairview Road in Hungerford in a silver Vauxhall.

"The trio were seen parked up and observing a One Stop shop as it was about to open for the day.

"Officers intercepted and apprehended Shane Wilson, Clleon Smith, and Ken Bernard at approximately 5am...They were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery and taken into custody at a south London police station.

"A police search of the silver Vauxhall identified a black handgun, recovered from the rear offside footwell, a balaclava worn by Wilson, a black rucksack and a tool knife," a Met spokesperson said.

Investigating officer Detective Constable William Man described the men as "dangerous" and said they had "terrified" shop workers during their crime spree.

"These prolific gang members terrified shop workers across the country in order to steal cash.

"They are dangerous individuals who threatened victims with knives and guns throughout their brazen crime spree.

"I hope the victims, and the wider public, feel reassured that these violent offenders have been taken off the streets and will now serve lengthy sentences behind bars," DC Man said.