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Jail for pair who stole vital lifesaving equipment from Hackney fire stations

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 August 2016

The men targeted fire stations across the South East    Picture: Andrew Matthews

The men targeted fire stations across the South East Picture: Andrew Matthews

PA

Three men have been convicted of stealing "lifesaving" firefighters' equipment worth more than £100,000.

Jermaine Okakpu, 26, of Evelyn Road in Silvertown and Jack Edwards, 20, of Sark Walk in Canning Town, joined Luke Sixsmith-Hughes, 22, in raiding up to 24 fire stations in Hackney and across London.

They also targeted stations in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Haringey, Enfield and Lewisham, and one in Dartford, Kent, in August and September last year.

It is thought the trio – who stole thermal imaging cameras, fire service uniforms and radios – were selling the gear overseas.

London Fire commissioner Ron Dobson said: “This was lifesaving equipment that was stolen and its theft could potentially have had an impact on our ability to respond to Londoners in need of our help.

“I sincerely hope that the sentences handed down deter anyone else from attempting to break into our fire stations.”

Okakpu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Basildon Crown Court on July 14 and was sentenced to two years in prison – suspended for 21 months – today.

He was also given 150 hours of community service after admitting his role in eight burglaries.

Sixsmith-Hughes, of Driffield Road in Bow, was sentenced alongside Edwards on February 19 after both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. They were each given three years in prison.

Det Sgt Robert Walls, of Havering CID, said: “Those involved showed a total disregard for the potential impact these losses could have had on the fire service’s ability to respond to fires and other critical incidents.

“The most frequently stolen items – thermal imaging cameras – are used by the fire brigade to locate trapped persons and to stop fires spreading.”

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