An armed robber has become the fourth and final member of a masked gang which targeted shops and bookmakers to be put behind bars.

Richard Mazzuccato, 34, of Mill End, has been jailed for eight years following an investigation by the Met Police.

Mazzuccato had pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery after a spate of robberies at convenience stores and betting shops in Hertfordshire, London, Buckinghamshire, and Surrey.

His accomplices, Justin Stockbridge, 45, of Owens Way, Croxley Green, Jamie Owen, 32, of Croft End Road, Chipperfield, and Paul Evans, 27, of no fixed address are already all serving time for their part in the crimes.

Isleworth Crown Court, in south west London where the trial took place, heard the string of armed robberies took place between October 6 2018 and March 18 2019, all during the night.

Taxi driver tasered

The robbery spree began on October 2018 at about 4.30am when Owen and Evans – identified by CCTV cameras – were picked-up by a taxi driver on King Street, Watford and driven to Owens Way.

Upon arrival, the court heard Evans demanded the driver hand over money.

The taxi driver refused, and he was Tasered by Owen. Owen also threatened to stab the victim.

The suspects made off with £80 and got into a vehicle that was parked nearby.

Watford Observer:

Jamie Owen. Credit: Met Police

The next two robberies took place at knifepoint and also targeted taxi drivers - in Church Lane, Sarratt, and in Surrey.

One of the victims had a knife held to his throat and he was punched by the suspects until they handed over goods such as cash, cards and mobile phones.

Betting shops and convenience stores were later targeted, mostly involving two masked suspects, armed with a knife or axe.

This included a shop in New Road, Croxley Green, which was robbed on November 3 2018.

Evans was arrested and charged on December 4 2018 after he was identified by Hertfordshire Constabulary.

Distinctive tattoo

Detectives from the Met Police began an investigation into the robberies to trace the outstanding suspects and identified Owen, Stockbridge and Mazzucatto as the main offenders.

They were identified through a range of enquiries including automatic number plate recognition, cell site phone data analysis, forensics and CCTV, which placed them at the crime scenes.

CCTV footage from a betting shop robbery in Chesham on December 27 captured a distinctive tattoo on the arm of one of the armed robbers - this tattoo was identical to the one of Stockbridge.

Watford Observer:

Stockbridge was identified by this tattoo on his right arm captured on CCTV during a robbery. Credit: Met Police

Detectives continued with their enquiries and evidence pointed to Mazzuccato as being involved in the latter offences.

On April 4 2019, Stockbridge was arrested while driving a van outside a convenience store in New Road, Croxley Green.

The van he was driving was linked to a robbery Penn, Buckinghamshire, on March 18 2019.

Watford Observer:

Justin Stockbridge. Credit: Met Police

Stockbridge and Mazzuccato were taken to court after the pair were charged on April 5 2019, but Owen remained outstanding.

During the trial, Isleworth Crown Court heard that both men are habitual drug users, with Mazzuccato claiming to have a £100 per day crack cocaine habit. This was argued to be the reason for their criminal behaviour.

Owen was charged by detectives on August 6.

The jury heard that Owen had been jailed six months earlier for four months for possession of a machete.

Detective Sergeant Tim Fines, from the Met Police, said: "I have no doubt that these suspects would have continued committing this horrific spate of robberies if they had not been identified and arrested.

"All of the robberies were terrifying ordeals for the victims – thankfully none of them suffered serious injuries during the attacks."

  • Richard Mazzuccato, 34, of Mill End, was jailed for eight years following sentencing at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday, 22 May. He pleaded guilty to four charges of robbery on August 27.
  • Justin Stockbridge, 45, of Owens Way, Croxley Green, was found guilty of one count of robbery and jailed for seven years, following sentencing at the same court on March 20.
  • Jamie Owen, 32, of Croft End Road, Chipperfield, was found guilty of three counts of robbery, and one count of possession of a Taser used in a robbery. He was jailed for 14 years following sentencing at the same court on March 20.
  • Paul Evans, 27, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery and was jailed for 11 years and one month.