A GANG of six responsible for carrying out a series of robberies at bookmakers in London have been sentenced to more than 44 years in jail.

Ten Ladbrokes bookmakers in London and Hertfordshire were targeted in 2016 and 2017.

Each robbery was committed in a similar way, with weapons used to threaten staff, including a handgun, a hammer and a samurai sword.

The group showed a knowledge of Ladbrokes security procedures and forced staff to open safes behind the counters and hand over cash. In total, £20,000 was stolen.

Detectives identified two female gang members who would lure Ladbrokes employees from behind the secure counter by asking for help with a gambling machine.

The women would then ‘call on’ the robbery and the others would arrive armed with weapons used to threaten staff.

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In one offence, at a Ladbrokes in Southall, a customer and a member of staff had guns pointed to their heads.

One of the group, Demetri Fairweather, worked at a Ladbrokes in Ealing and failed to press his panic alarm despite being told several times to do this by his manager during a robbery in June 2016.

Fairweather 22, from Wembley, was sentenced to seven years at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday.

Among the others was Diana Holder, 22, of Hanover Circle, Hayes, who was sentenced to three years.

Det Insp Scott Hartley said: “This gang was responsible for a series of frightening armed robberies in which violence and intimidation was used against employees in the bookmakers.

“The crimes were premeditated and the gang members worked as a team to carry out the offences.”