A man has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of armed robberies at shops in Newham.

Crispin Kent, 46, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday September 28 after previously being found guilty of three counts of armed robbery.

His crimes took place in December 2019, each time in the Newham area.

He was also convicted of one count of robbery of a vehicle where he and another unidentified male posed as police officers when they pulled a lone woman over in her car in Wick Lane.

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Det Con Craig Prout, of the Flying Squad, said: “Kent is clearly a violent individual who thinks nothing of getting what he wants, or of the long-lasting impact his offences have had on these innocent victims.

"They are people who were going about their day as normal and Kent made them fear for their lives.”

Kent was arrested at his home address in Alnwick Road, Custom House in February 2020 following an investigation by the Met’s Flying Squad and detectives from Central East Command Unit.

Police said Kent entered each store with his face hidden and fired a gun at the floor before demanding money from the till.

No injuries were reported following any of his robberies.

In one instance, police said Kent was chased from the premises by brave shop staff.

The investigation that led to his arrest matched a dark vehicle seen travelling to and from the scenes of each robbery with one found on Kent’s own driveway.

A search of his house turned up clothes matching those worn during the offences.

The gun was discovered and taken for specialist examination.

The weapon proved to be a blank firearm with the paint scratched off to resemble a Beretta self-loading pistol.

DC Prout added: “The sentence handed down reflects the seriousness of Kent’s offending. It is entirely correct that he spends a significant amount of time behind bars.”

Kent’s accomplice in the vehicle theft remains unidentified, with work ongoing to establish his identity.