Three men who stole “life-saving equipment” from fire stations in Tower Hamlets and across London have been convicted.
Twenty-six-year-old Jermaine Okakpu, of Evelyn Road in Silvertown, Jack Edwards, 20, of Sark Walk in Canning Town, and 22-year-old Luke Sixsmith-Hughes, of Driffield Road, targeted more than 20 fire stations across London throughout August and September last year.
According to police, the men stole high-value gear including thermal-imaging cameras, uniforms and radios. It is thought they were selling the equipment overseas.
Edwards and Sixsmith-Hughes were arrested on 15 September 2015 when a camera battery, stolen on the same day from a fire station in Lewisham, was found inside their vehicle.
After further investigation, police linked the two men to burglaries at 24 premises, with some broken into more than once.
Okakpu was arrested on 24 September 2015 and admitted his involvement in eight burglaries.
Sixsmith-Hughes and Edwards were both jailed for three years in February after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
In August, Okakpu was jailed for two years, suspended for 21 months, after he pleaded guilty to the same crime. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service.
Detective Sergeant Robert Walls said: “Those involved showed a total disregard for the potential impact these losses could have had on the fire service’s ability to respond to fires and other critical incidents.
“The most frequently stolen items – thermal-imaging cameras – are used by the fire brigade to locate trapped persons and to stop fires spreading.
“I have no doubt that the quick detention of those involved and the effective partnership work between the police and fire service enabled us to secure the overwhelming evidence that left the men with no alternative than to admit their guilt.”
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson commented: “I’d like to thank our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police for their hard work in securing this conviction. This was life-saving equipment that was stolen and its theft could potentially have had an impact on our ability to respond to Londoners in need of our help.
“I sincerely hope that the sentences handed down deter anyone else from attempting to break into our fire stations.”