Jail sentence for YouTube pranksters

media captionCCTV footage of YouTubers' prank at National Portrait Gallery

Four members of the controversial Trollstation YouTube channel have been jailed in connection with fake robberies and kidnappings.

The group were involved in a fake robbery at London's National Portrait Gallery and a fake kidnapping at Tate Britain in July 2015.

The channel, with 718,000 subscribers, has built a reputation for filming staged pranks around the city.

A fifth member was imprisoned in March following a bomb hoax.

"The hoaxes may have seemed harmless to them, but they caused genuine distress to a number of members of the public, who should be able to go about their daily business without being put in fear in this way.

"We hope these convictions send a strong message that unlawful activities such as these will not be tolerated in London," said Robert Short, of the Crown Prosecution Service.

image captionThe "prank" caused a crowd of people to rush out of the gallery

Daniel Jarvis, 27, Helder Gomes, 23, Endrit Ferizolli, 20, and Ebenezer Mensah, 29 were sentenced on Monday at the City of London Magistrate's Court.

All four pleaded guilty to two counts of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of, or provoke unlawful violence for their involvement in the two hoaxes.

For the charge at the National Portrait Gallery, Mr Jarvis was sentenced to 20 weeks, Mr Mensah and Mr Gomes to 18 weeks each, and Mr Ferizolli to 16 weeks. All four were also sentenced to eight weeks for the fake kidnapping at Tate Britain, to run concurrently.

media captionJanuary 2016: Trollstation in trouble with the police

Trollstation member Danh Van Le was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment in March for his involvement in the fake robbery, and also to 24 weeks for a separate bomb hoax.

"Our aim was never to get away with breaking the law," a member of the group known as Light told the BBC at the time.

Light said the group hoped to continue but would "re-evaluate" their approach.

"We are a big influence and we try to use that positively," he said of the channel's large following.

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