Monday 20 May 2024
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Nottingham drug gang members jailed after 24-hour ‘reign of terror’

Two members of a violent robbery gang have been jailed after detectives used forensic, CCTV and mobile phone evidence to bring them to justice.

2020 – Reign of Terror

Police said that Tracey Hepburn and Kenneth Bromfield were part of a four-strong gang that took part in a series of street robberies during a 24-hour reign of terror in the summer of 2020.

The gang threatened and attacked victims with weapons including an imitation firearm, knives and hammers during a string of incidents across three counties.

Hepburn and Bromfield’s accomplices, Logan Davies and a younger boy, who cannot be named, were put behind bars two-and-a-half years ago after admitting their roles.

The pair had already carried out several offences in Nottingham before they recruited 47-year-old Hepburn – who joined them in carrying out robberies in areas of Nottingham, Derbyshire, and Lincolnshire.

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Bromfield, aged 67,  acted as the driver, transporting his three accomplices to the scenes of multiple offences.

Hepburn and Bromfield denied their involvement but were found guilty of a series of offences by a jury following a trial last year.

The Trial

At Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday (16 April) Hepburn was jailed for 14 years.

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She had earlier been found guilty of nine counts of robbery, two of attempted robbery, two of possessing a bladed article, two of possessing an imitation firearm and one of possessing an offensive weapon by a jury.

Bromfield was locked up for 12 years after being convicted of six counts of robbery, two of attempted robbery, two of possessing a bladed article and one of possessing an offensive weapon during the same trial.

The two younger offenders initially acted alone, but beginning on the evening of 19 August 2020 victims began to report the involvement of a third robber.

Five robberies

The trio carried out five different robberies during 24 hours between 19 and 20 August 2020.

In the first incident, at Palmerston Gardens, St Ann’s, around 10 pm on 19 August, two victims were walking down an alleyway after a night out when they were confronted by three people in masks.

One offender pulled out an imitation firearm while the other two produced knives.

One victim managed to flee the scene but the other had two knives held to his stomach while a phone, keys, and driving licence were stolen from him.

Just 25 minutes later, two men were sitting talking on a bench in Forest Recreation Ground when they were approached by three masked offenders.

When the victims refused to hand over belongings, one of the robbers pulled out an imitation firearm and began hitting one of them in the head with the weapon.

The offenders ended up fleeing with two mobile phones.

In the early hours of the following morning, two men walking home after a night out in Beeston were approached by three people in masks.

One of the men managed to run away and call the police, but the other was backed into a shop window and robbed of cash and a mobile phone at knifepoint.

At 2 am, in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, two further victims were walking home when they were targeted.

Two offenders demanded one of the men hand over his belongings and stole his phone, bank card, watch, and other items.

The other victim tried to run away but was cornered and robbed of his mobile phone by the third offender.

The fifth robbery took place on the evening of 20 August after the gang had travelled to Skegness, Lincolnshire.

A group of teenagers were out celebrating their exam results on Skegness Pier when they were approached by three people, one of whom demanded a member of the group turn out his pockets.

When he refused, the offenders produced hammers from their waistbands.

Two of the teenagers were struck with the weapons in a struggle that followed before the gang fled with items including mobile phones, bank cards, and cash.

Bromfield’s Seat Arona vehicle was found to be close to the scene of four of the incidents.

A video found on the youngest offender’s phone is also clearly taken within an Arona car and put all four offenders in the same location.

When officers raided Bromfield and Hepburn’s home, they found hammers, face coverings, knives, and clothing they had previously been seen wearing on CCTV footage.

A ring found at the scene of the Skegness robbery helped link Hepburn and Bromfield using DNA evidence. Further crucial evidence was found on drops of blood on the handles of the hammers.

Analysis of Hepburn’s mobile phone showed her location in relation to the incident locations and the locations of her co-accused.

‘Terrifying ordeals’

Detective Constable Natasha Ullyatt, of Nottinghamshire Police, said:

“Over a 24-hour period, these four offenders subjected a string of innocent victims to terrifying ordeals which continue to impact them to this day.

“The victims just happened to be in the wrong places at the wrong times when they were confronted by violent robbers, sometimes masked and carrying weapons, who demanded they hand over their personal belongings.

“The younger offenders had already embarked on their campaign of violent offending when it appears they recruited Hepburn and Bromfield.

“Hepburn took an active part in the robberies while Bromfield acted as the driver to allow them to travel further away from Nottingham to continue offending.

“This was a very complex and unusual investigation and it’s fair to say I’ve never come across anything like this case in my 10 years of policing. I hope I never will again.

“At the heart of the case, however, were a series of victims, of varying ages, who underwent traumatic incidents and who we were determined to get justice for.”

Chief Inspector Karl Thomas, who previously headed up the city robbery team at Nottinghamshire Police, said:

“I’d like to thank all the officers and police staff, from multiple teams across the force, for helping achieve today’s outcome.

“The detectives who worked on the case carried out an exemplary investigation after being confronted with an unusual and complex set of circumstances.

“Their dedication and tenacity have directly led to these four individuals being brought to justice and receiving prison sentences.

“The case shows how seriously the force responds to any report of robbery and how we always put the victim at the heart of everything we do.”

Hepburn also admitted assaulting an emergency worker following a separate incident when she grabbed the arm of a police officer on 29 November 2022 in Bramcote Street.

Bromfield was also convicted of possession of a bladed article after being stopped by police in Derby Road, Beeston, on 6 May 2020.

Davies, now 21, of Rose Close, St Ann’s, was locked up for 11 years and two months in September 2021. He was ordered to spend two-thirds of the sentence in custody and the rest on licence.

He pleaded guilty to 17 offences, including 11 counts of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, one count of possession of a bladed article, two counts of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and one count of possession of an offensive weapon.

The other teenager pleaded guilty to 19 offences. These included 13 counts of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, two counts of possession of a bladed article, one count of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and one count of possession of an offensive weapon.

He was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in custody. He was told he will be released at the halfway point and then be on licence to the end of the sentence.

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