Islington-based robbery gang get comeuppence from British kickboxing champ

A GANG of serial armed robbers have been jailed for a total of 17 years after their reign of terror came to an end when they picked on a former British kickboxing champion.

Various members of the gang struck four times in two months after Paul Bryant stole �20,000 from a Sunwin security guard making a delivery at the Texaco garage, in Caledonian Road, Islington, on June 12 last year.

Their luck run out at the fifth attempt though, when they ran into 46-year-old Mark Elliott, an expert in boxing, Thai boxing and taekwondo, who won British titles in 1990 and 1991.

The gang were being watched by the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad when they targeted Mr Elliot as he delivered cash boxes outside a petrol station in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

Armed with a knife, Paul Vincent Mursell, 42, and Anthony Powell, 29, sprang on the security guard, but his black belt training saw Mr Elliott tackle Powell, restraining him on the ground.

Police raced to his aid and arrested Mursell and Powell. Bryant, 26, was arrested moments afterwards as he attempted to drive off, while accomplice Alfie Atherton was arrested later.

Mr Elliott said: “As I stood up the police noticed a knife on the floor next to the handcuffed man. I checked myself over for injuries and I noticed a slash in the front of my polo shirt. Fortunately my ID card was under my shirt and I believe this prevented me from receiving any serious injuries.”

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After Bryant had carried out the initial raid at the petrol station in Caledonian Road, Powell struck two weeks later on June 24, making off with �20,000 after robbing a guard making a delivery at McDonald’s in a retail park in Apsley, Hertfordshire. On July 28. Powell and Bryant went on to steal �45,000 from a 68-year-old man in Buckhurst Hill, Essex,

The pair then teamed up with 18-year-old Alfie Atherton to steal �25,000 from a security guard outside a NatWest bank in Muswell Hill, before the botched robbery attempt on September 8. Atherton was arrested later.

Three of the four men, who had all pleaded guilty, were jailed today at Harrow Crown Court.

Bryant, of Holloway Road, Holloway, and Powell, of Outram Place, Islington, were both given an Indeterminate Public Protection Order (IPP) with a minimum of four-and-a-half years’ jail after both admitted four counts of robbery.

Mursell, of no fixed address, was jailed for four years after admitting one count of robbery.

Atherton, of Saxonlea Court, Saxon Road, Bow, was jailed for four years on February 2 after admitting a separate smash-and-grab robbery at Ernest Jones jewellers in Kensington on October 14 last year.

Detective Inspector BJ Llewellyn, of the MPS Finchley Flying Squad, commended the “forward-thinking and bravery” of Mr Elliott.