End to train mugger's line of work

A MUGGER who carried out a string of robberies while threatening to shoot and stab his victims is behind bars today thanks to an Ipswich detective and high-resolution CCTV.

A MUGGER who carried out a string of robberies while threatening to shoot and stab his victims is behind bars today thanks to an Ipswich detective and high-resolution CCTV.

Joseph Ayache is beginning a four-year sentence after admitting eight charges of robbery over a three-week period, as well as false imprisonment.

The 19-year-old terrorised his victims as he carried out hold-ups on trains.

Ayache's crime spree began on the Colchester to Clacton line on December 13 last year. The robberies ended eight muggings later when Ayache was finally caught, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

British Transport Police detective constable Alan Reed today said: "These were a series of cowardly and spiteful offences committed against young people. "One victim was told by Ayache 'don't get funny with us or we will make your life hell'.

"Through an intelligence-led proactive approach, combined with good quality CCTV we were able to bring this man to justice."

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Peter Meades, spokesman for train company One, applauded the sentence given to Ayache and stressed how seriously passengers' safety is taken.

He said: "We have been encouraged by the sentence passed in this case and will not tolerate instances like this happening on our trains. Cameras are installed on the former Great Eastern trains travelling from Ipswich to London and we have widespread CCTV coverage on stations and car parks which are very effective."

During the Colchester to Clacton robbery, the victims were told to hand over their mobile phones and wallets. They were then held against their will when the train stopped and marched to Clacton library to prevent them alerting rail staff, before being allowed to go.

However Ayache, of East Ham, London, was captured on film leaving a carriage on the train.

Dc Reed was on attachment to the BTP's robbery squad in London, when he was called to another mugging at Shenfield on January 5 this year. Ayache and another person had been arrested and taken to Brentwood police station.

Dc Reed recognised Ayache fitted the description of one of the Clacton robbers and asked for the CCTV image to be sent to him. When it arrived he could clearly see it was him.

Dc Reed checked the property brought into custody with Ayache and discovered a Burberry wallet, an O2 chip from a mobile and a mobile phone, all of which had been stolen.

After more checks it emerged Ayache and an accomplice were responsible for two more sets of muggings. One on a train between Stratford and Brentwood on December 30, the other two weeks earlier on December 14 between Gidea Park and Brentwood.

A second person is still awaiting trial for the robberies.

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