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16 jailed over gang riots rampage

Sixteen people involved in last summer's London riots, including an attack on the Michelin-starred Ledbury restaurant, have been jailed for up to nine years, police said.

The gang of men and boys, aged between 16 and 34, rampaged through the capital's streets in what prosecutors called a pre-planned campaign of burglary, robbery, assault and violent disorder.

Among their targets was the Notting Hill restaurant which had up to 40 diners and 20 members of staff inside.

About 15 youths forced their way inside by kicking the door, wielding bottles and sticks and shouting for diners to get on the floor as they stole cash and jewellery. One woman had her wedding ring pulled off her finger.

In a series of violent incidents around Queensway and Bayswater, in west London, the mob also attacked the Bumpkin Restaurant, a casino and shops including an off-licence where the owner was battered over the head and left bleeding. A taxi and a pizza delivery driver were also attacked and police vehicles were bombarded.

The gang were convicted using CCTV footage, forensics and amateur rap videos on YouTube which showed three of the defendants together, Scotland Yard said.

The sentences given at Inner London Crown Court included jail terms ranging from nine years to three and four-year terms.

Chief crown prosecutor Alison Saunders said: "Sixteen people were sentenced in what was one of the most overt campaigns of violent disorder, burglary, robbery and assault seen during the London disorder of last August.

"This was not a chance meeting of youths bent on causing disorder, but was, to a degree, a planned campaign between youths known to each other through local gangs. Their actions terrified innocent members of the public and they left a trail of destruction in their path. In one incident, restaurant workers confronted them and they left soon after.

"It is a year on from the London disorder and, working very closely with the police, CPS London has now successfully prosecuted nearly 2,000 people for their criminal actions during those three days. The specialist team we set up in the wake of the disorder will continue to prepare strong cases to put before the courts for as long as the police continue to identify and arrest suspects, which will ensure that as many as those responsible for the London disorder are brought to justice as possible."

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