October 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, September 6, 2012
An infamous gang that terrorised south Islington for years has been smashed and its members sentenced to a total of almost 20 years behind bars.
The EC gang, also know as Easy Cash – which had a criminal history ranging from violent assaults, burglary, drug dealing and car thefts – was jailed at Blackfriars Crown Court last week.
The two main ringleaders – Paul Rogers, 21, of Ampton Street, Finsbury, and Sanchez Atkinson, 19, of Levison Way, Archway – were handed three-year terms after pleading guilty to selling crack cocaine and heroin. Atkinson was also sentenced for aggravated vehicle taking.
Jamie Smith, 19, of Fairstead Walk, Islington; Nadir Khalfan, 18, of Tompion Street, Finsbury and Jay O’Reilly, of Skinner Street, Clerkenwell, were all given two years in a young offenders’ institute for the same offences.
Two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named, got 18 months apiece.
Most of the gangsters were picked up during a series of dawn raids attended by the Gazette in April.
They were the climax of a four-month operation sparked by the stabbing of a young man on an Amwell Street in 2011.
The 20-strong EC gang operated in the Finsbury area and planned its crimes in Spa Fields Park and Exmouth Market.
Police put them under round-the-clock surveillance and posed as drug users to gather evidence.
This led to the arrest of another gangster, Tashan Atkinson, of Lloyds Road, Finsbury – 22-year-old brother of Sanchez – who was charged earlier this month with supplying class A drugs and was jailed for four and a half years.
During the gang’s heyday, Spa Fields Park was virtually out of bounds for residents but detectives say crime has dropped in the area since the criminal ring was broken.
Det Cons Phelim Redmond and Adam Stoker, who ran the investigation, said: “The EC gang thought they were untouchable in their criminal activities and that the normal rules of society didn’t apply to them.
“The fact they chose to openly deal class A drugs from a children’s play park shows the total disregard they had for the community in which they all lived.
“This was a lengthy and complex investigation by Islington CID and hopefully these convictions will show that there is no hiding place for those who choose to use violence and deal drugs on the streets.”
Sharon Hayward, a secretary of nearby Finsbury Estate tenants and residents association, said: “You don’t see big groups of youths together on their bikes so much and there are less furious police chases through the estate.
“But there are still kids hanging around and plenty of police activity, so there is still work to be done.”
The gang also received Asbos banning them from seeing each other and entering the area around Spa Fields Park for up to three years after their release.