Watch: Thieves try to steal judge’s motorbike in audacious robbery in court car park

CCTV captured the moment a gang of moped robbers armed with a machete made an audacious attempt to steal a judge’s motorbike from the car park of one of London’s crown courts.

Shay Hollis, 18, and Deon-Dre Rogers-Barrett, 19, rode with a third unidentified man into the grounds of Snaresbrook crown court in broad-daylight to try to steal Judge Paul Southern’s £20,000 BMW motorbike.

They circled the historic court building until reaching the staff car park, where Hollis wrestled the steering lock off the bike.

However the robbery plan started to go awry when Hollis struggled with the weight of the motorbike and dropped it, costing the thieves valuable seconds to make their escape.

The video shows quick-thinking security guards running to the front gate to close off the exit route, leaving the robbers trapped inside the sprawling grounds of the east London court.

Hollis is seen brandishing a foot-long machete at the guards, while CCTV shows the thieves abandoning the stolen BMW bike, riding around in a failed attempt to escape, and eventually ditching their mopeds, helmets and gloves to climb over a court perimeter wall.

Moped thieves Shay Hollis and Deon-Dre Rogers-Barrett tried to steal a judge’s motorbike (MPS)
Moped thieves Shay Hollis and Deon-Dre Rogers-Barrett tried to steal a judge’s motorbike (MPS)

Judge Andrew Holmes, sitting at Wood Green crown court in June, agreed to defer sentencing for six months, giving the defendants “a golden opportunity to turn your lives around”.

After hearing on Friday that neither had re-offended, Rogers-Barrett is working in construction and Hollis is pursuing a career as a painter and decorator, the judge decided not to impose immediate prison terms.

“You have been kept your end of this deferment, and I will keep mine”, said the judge, accepting that the “brazen” theft would ordinarily carry a prison sentence.

Rogers-Barrett was handed a 21-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 25 days of rehabilitation and a three-month night-time tagged curfew between 8pm and 5am.

Hollis, now a father, was sentenced to an 18-month youth rehabilitation order, including supervision sessions and 120 hours of community service.

The judge said he had made “exceptional progress”, but warned him: “If you carry a knife in public again, prison awaits”.

Rogers-Barrett was ordered to pay £500 compensation to Judge Southern, while Hollis must pay £250 in compensation.

Rogers-Barrett, who filmed himself at work in his hard hat for the court, appeared in the dock wearing his hi-vis jacket from work.

“He has done very well”, said his barrister, Brian Kennedy.

In an impact statement Judge Southern, who had previously fallen victim to thieves who wheeled his bike on to the back of a van, said he believed the court’s car park, guarded and monitored by CCTV, was safe and secure.

“Quite apart from the financial loss, I’m left feeling violated by this incident and have been caused a considerable amount of personal distress”, he said.

“On this occasion, it was a guarded, CCTV monitored car park at a crown court, which was a location I considered to be entirely safe. This perhaps illustrates that a planned and determined attempt to steal one’s possessions is almost impossible to protect one’s self against.”

Prosecutor Dickon Reid said the three thieves arrive “in convoy” at around 2.15pm on April 16 last year, with Rogers-Barrett on his own moped and Hollis riding pillion on a stolen bike.

“Both mopeds drive to the rear of the car park, Mr Hollis got off the stolen moped, and approached the BMW motorbike that belongs to the judge,” he said.

“The footage shows Mr Hollis wrestling the steering lock, with sufficient force used to cause that to give. Thereafter, Mr Hollis began to push the motorcycle away.

“It is a heavy motorcycle, Mr Hollis struggled with it, and dropped it.”

The court heard a guard, Cecil Sweeney, spotted the robbery in progress and ran outside to try to thwart it.

“At this point, Mr Hollis drew something out of the right hand side of his waistband,” said Mr Reid.

“Mr Hollis threatened security guards with what later transpired to be a machete.”

Snaresbrook Crown Court (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)
Snaresbrook Crown Court (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)

Mr Sweeney went to arm himself with a metal pole as his colleagues dashed to shut the front gates and blocked off the escape route.

“Mr Hollis dropped the BMW motorbike, causing irreparable damage to the frame,” said the prosecutor.

“As the three robbers tried to get out of the complex, another security guard, Kamran Ishaq, described Mr Hollis pulling a one-foot machete from his waistband.”

When a sweep of the grounds was later conducted, the abandon mopeds, helmets, gloves, and an angle grinder – all covered in DNA evidence – were discovered.

Around an hour and a half later, Rogers-Barrett called 999 to report his moped, helmet, and mobile phone as stolen.

But he gave himself away by using the phone he claimed was taken to make the emergency call.

Hollis and Rogers-Barrett, both from Enfield, pleaded guilty to robbery.

Hollis also admitted criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon, and affray.