Two teenagers who used stolen scooters to commit violent robberies in London – one of whom was also involved in a collision with a police car – have been sentenced to a total of eight years in custody.
18-year-old Frankie Batchelor from Southwark was sentenced to five years’ in a Young Offender Institution for three counts of robbery, attempted robbery, three counts of attempted theft, taking a motor vehicle without consent (scooter); two counts of driving with no insurance, two counts of driving not in accordance to licence, criminal damage, handling stolen goods; aggravated vehicle taking and possession of an offensive weapon – an axe.
At 03:30hrs on Saturday 4 August, Batchelor was pillion on a stolen scooter with an as-yet unidentified accomplice on Crawford Street, Westminster. Pulling up alongside five people in a car, Batchelor drew an axe from his backpack, which he swung at them while demanding their possessions. Some of the passengers fled from the vehicle, but others were held captive inside until a watch and mobile phone were handed over. A deep gouge was made to the car by Batchelor.
At 04:30hrs local officers spotted the scooter and pursued. Blasting through red lights and taking bends at such high speeds that sparks were seen, the scooter collided with another marked police car that was not involved in the pursuit, travelling in the opposite direction. Despite the police driver trying to move out of the way, the scooter changed direction and collided with the car, causing it to flip onto its roof.
The unknown scooter rider left Batchelor at the scene with a leg injury and ran off. Batchelor’s backpack – containing the axe and stolen mobile phone – was seized, and a stolen watch was found in his jacket pocket.
Batchelor was taken to hospital (where he remained for around a month) and later arrested for driving offences. At this stage he had not been linked to the robbery.
The Operation Venice team took over the investigation into the robbery and obtained CCTV from the 4th of August robbery that identified Batchelor. After leaving hospital in September, he was interviewed for the driving offences before being released under investigation.
While released, Frankie Batchelor and a 16-year-old boy (also from Southwark, but who cannot be named) carried out further offences starting on the 3rd of January:
At 16:52hrs, Batchelor rode a stolen scooter with the 16-year-old on the back to an estate agent in St Gabriel Walk, Southwark. The boy entered the front office, producing a hunting knife. The three employees fled and hid in a rear room; when they returned, the boy was gone and so were their mobile phones.
Later that day – at 17:06hrs – the boy approached two men who were using laptops at a café on New Bridge Street, London. He attempted to grab one of the laptops but failed. He then produced a large hunting knife and the other male victim handed over his laptop.
On the 4th of January, the Operation Venice Investigation Team obtained CCTV from the estate agent. Both suspects were identified from facial images, but also because of Batchelor’s limp, so officers went to Batchelor’s home address in Lucey Way with the intention of arresting him and the 16-year-old.
While the police were on their way to the address, at 12:58hrs on Tooley Street, Southwark, Batchelor and the boy snatched a mobile phone from a person as they rode past. At 13.16hrs, on Valentine Place, Southwark, they tried to snatch a mobile phone from a person as they rode past, but were unsuccessful, and at 13.20hrs on Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, they snatched a person’s iPhone.
At 14:00hrs, police found the scooter parked up at Lucey Way where Batchelor lives. They then saw Batchelor and the boy coming towards it.
The 16-year-old walked straight into officers, while Batchelor attempted to hide in a doorway. He was seen, and both were arrested for the robberies committed on the 3rd and 4th of January.
On the 5th of January, Batchelor was further arrested and charged for all the above offences. The boy was also charged with the offences of the 3rd and 4th of January and sentenced to three years in a Young Offender Institution for two counts of robbery, two counts of theft, attempted robbery, attempted theft, breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order, and taking a motor vehicle without consent.
A number of items were recovered during a search of Batchelor’s home address, which included clothing matching those worn during the offences and a hunting knife.
Detective Constable Mark Cooper, Operation Venice Investigation Team said: “These two violent offenders were a menace to the London public. In their brazen crime spree they used intimidation and violence to threaten, rob and steal from people going about their daily lives.
“They had a total disregard for their own safety and that of others. They put people’s lives at risk by recklessly causing a collision with a police car that has left Batchelor with a permanent leg injury, but could have been something far worse for all concerned.
“However, the tenacity of the Venice team led to the capture of the evidence needed to obtain their conviction and this sentence.
“Operation Venice will stop at nothing to bring to justice criminals who rob people, and will use every legal tactic at our disposal, including tactical contact to do so.”
You can read more about some of the officers of Operation Venice, and watch the video explaining how busted the gang that threatened bystanders while attempting to steal a Ducati Panigale in Soho by clicking here.
Anyone with information, particularly regarding the missing scooter rider who collided with a police car, should call local police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.