A Battersea man has been jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to a series of knifepoint robberies committed through central London over a nine-month period.

Sean Maher, 26, originally from Battersea was involved in six robberies across London with Jay Jay Manley, 26, Austin Road Battersea. Maher pleaded guilty of handling stolen goods, dangerous driving and escape from lawful custody. Maher was sentenced to 10 years and Manley for five years.

In 2011, Maher was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for a previous conviction. Six years into his sentence (October, 2017), Maher escaped from his prison cell at a category D prison and was on the run from police.

The first robbery happened in Chelsea on May 3, where Maher and Manley stole a 29-year-old man’s watch at knife point. A week later (May 10) a lone female, 45, had parked car in Fulham. She was approached by the two men who forced her up against a fence, held her at knife point and demanded her watch. After she handed it over, they got into a stolen Nissan Qashqai on false plates and drove off.

Late night on May 14 two male victims were approached by three men in Chelsea. The victims were forcibly separated from each other, threatened with knives and punched. Their property stolen; including expensive watches and jewellery. The suspects made off in the same stolen Nissan Qashqai.

On May 16, Maher and Manley followed a 26 year-old man, back from a restaurant where was having dinner in Chelsea. Outside his property on Anderson Street, Chelsea the two men threatened the victim using the same method as before. Once again they stole the victim’s watch.

On June 21 a 47-year-old female was walking in Chelsea when a stolen Land Rover on false plates pulled up beside her. Again, two males got out and violently robbed the woman of her expensive watch.

Westminster Crime Squad were assigned to investigate on June 21 and Maher and Manley were established as prime suspects.

On Friday, June 29 officers from the Crime Squad were about to enter an address in Seely Road, Tooting, when Maher jumped into a car and made off at speed along a pavement before re-joining the road.

Police followed until Maher came up against a refuse truck blocking the road. He mounted the pavement and crashed through bins, narrowly missing refuse collectors, all to get around the blocked road.

No one was injured and the officers pursuing self-terminated the pursuit due to obvious dangers. On Monday, July 2 and after further investigation, the officers forced entry to a flat in Macey House, Battersea. There they found Maher hiding in a cupboard. The flat was searched after Maher’s arrest and evidence linking him to some of the robberies were found.

Maher was taken to a central London police station where he was interviewed by detectives.

He was charged on the same day with the following offences: Escaping from prison; three counts of robbery, possession of an offensive weapon, dangerous driving, handling stolen goods, two counts of driving with no insurance, two counts of not being in accordance with a licence and possession of cannabis.

He was taken to Westminster Magistrates' Court and remanded into prison custody until August 15. Since first being charged he has been further charged with another three robberies involving knives.

Enquiries into the robberies continued and on Tuesday, July 12, Manley, was arrested and charged with three of the robberies. He was also charged with three offences of possession of offensive weapons.

Whilst in custody, he was further charged with the robberies in Anderson Street and Manresa Road.

Detective Constable Tony Holley, the investigating officer from Westminster Crime Squad, said: "I am pleased that justice has prevailed and these men have now finally received punishments for their abhorrent acts.

"I hope that with this sentence the victims can now look at trying to move on with their lives, which have been vastly affected by this incident. The enormity of the impact these men have caused cannot be underrated and I am pleased they are behind bars and no longer pose a threat to the public."