'Fagin's gang' targeted in south London raids

Police have raided addresses in south London as part of a probe into an alleged gang of young robbers.

The gang is believed to be responsible for up to 50 incidents in Wandsworth, Tooting and Streatham in the past nine months.

Police described the head of the gang as a "Fagin-type" character who led the group of at least 20 youngsters.

Ten males, aged between 14 and 25, have been arrested and remain in custody.

They are being held at various south London police stations on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Police said many of the gang's victims were aged 13 to 16 and they were robbed of mobile phones and other belongings.

The group also targeted lone females and, on several occasions, shops, police said.

Det Supt Gerry Campbell said: "Offenders should be in no doubt that robberies and violence which brings misery to individuals and our communities will not be tolerated.

'Resolute determination'

"We are absolutely resolute in our determination to tackle violent crime in all its forms and make London safer."

Properties in Wandsworth, Lambeth and Merton and Croydon were raided on Tuesday morning as part of Operation Target.

Police said stolen electronic goods, including laptops, mobile phones, smart phones and SIM cards, and two knives were found in the searches.

Seven women - aged between 14 and 17 - were arrested in May and bailed in connection with the inquiry, police said.

Since Operation Target was launched on 8 June, there have been 2,005 arrests for offences including burglary, robbery and possessing firearms, according to police figures.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites