Two Peterborough men jailed for taking “vigilante justice” with hammer against youths

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A warehouse owner who robbed youths riding BMX bikes in his property, jabbing one in the face with a hammer, has been jailed for 21 months.

Mohammed Ali (28) of Park Road was described by Mr Recorder Fields as the ringleader of a robbery which took place at his warehouse in Padholme Road East in May 2015.

A second man, Faizan Awan (29) of Kesteven Walk was sentenced to 15 months for his part in the robbery.

Both men were found guilty by a jury after a trial and were sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court last Friday.

The warehouse had been a meeting point for local youths who had set up ramps to take part in their activities which were also thought to include skateboarding.

Recorder Fields said there had been a great deal of damage at the warehouse and that on the day of the robbery there had been reports of a fire, although there was no evidence any of the youths who were robbed had been involved.

Addressing Ali, he said: “You recruited three friends to go to the warehouse. You said it was to carry out repairs but I reject that. It was absolutely clear from the evidence you expected to see trespassers and wanted to scare them off.

“I do not think you went with the intention to rob. It went beyond the scope of the original plan and occurred spontaneously.”

Ali and his friends were then said to have grabbed some wood when they entered the warehouse and “utterly intimidated” the youths.

They were said to have complied with Ali’s demands to empty their pockets and hand over their phones, but when one refused to hand over his bike Ali was said to have taken a hammer used for repairs and “jabbed him in the face.”

Recorder Fields described Ali’s actions as “vigilante justice” but accepted the defence’s argument that it was not a “classic case of robbery.”

Defending Ali, Michael Procter said: “I would ask your honour to consider a suspended sentence. Mr Ali is still relatively young, he’s 28.”

He said Ali had many positive characteristics and that the injuries caused to the victim were not serious.

He added: “The weapons that were used to threaten came from the warehouse and it was not premeditated.”

Charles Kellett defending Awan said he was a hard-working young man. He added: “It seems obvious this particular warehouse had been damaged by vandalism for some time with impunity. It does not make it any better, but perhaps puts it into context.”