Three jailed for cigarette hijacks
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• Rival East End gangs competed for hijack lorry loads and if one gang did not get the load, they would blackmail the other into giving them a cut.
This was said by Mr John Leonard, QC, prosecuting at Hertford Assizes on Monday when two lorry drivers and a third man were sent to prison for their parts in a lorry hijacking.
The two drivers — Kenneth Victor Braysher, 32, of Skelton's Lane, Leyton, and Alfred James Golbourne, 31, of Crowder Street, Wapping — were each jailed for six years when they pleaded guilty to two charges involving the theft of a total of 11,535,000 cigarettes worth £129,000.
The third man, Richard William Blott, 39, of Grove Road, Walthamstow, who admitted a charge of stealing 5,655,000 cigarettes worth £65,000, was jailed for .three years.
Mr Leonard said the three men staged a hijacking of a lorry loaded with 5,655,00 cigarettes at a café in Commercial Street in Stepney. Blott kept the lorry driver talking while Braysher and Golbourne stole the lorry. Golbourne arranged a buyer for the stolen load.
Mr Leonard said Braysher and Golbourne were involved in another hijacking — a load of 5,880,000 cigarettes but this one was a "fake". Braysher was the lorry driver and he arranged to "lose his load". A rendezvous for the handover of the lorry was arranged by a gang and Golbourne again arranged for the disposal of the stolen cigarettes.
The court heard that for the second load of cigarettes Braysher was paid £1500 and Golbourne's cut was £600.