Businessman says police failed to catch thieves who handed themselves in at station

A businessman said bungling police failed to catch thieves who raided his premises - despite the crooks handing themselves in at a police station.

Furious Amir Sadjady, 41, claims he called 999 half an hour after yobs nicked money from his launderette by using a hammer to smash open a cash machine.

He captured the dramatic raid in crystal clear CCTV from a number of angles, but claims call handlers said it was a "past event" so they couldn't rush round.

Determined Amir spotted the criminals on bikes in the neighbourhood just hours later and gave chase while calling cops - but was told to "leave it to police".

He then put up his own 'wanted' posters to warn local businesses and hours later two suspects handed themselves in to police.

But he was later told via email they walked free "due to some sort of misunderstanding".

Amir dug about, and gave police the then suspects' names and nearly two weeks later, two people were arrested.

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Margaret Connors, 46, and Danny Brand, 36, pleaded guilty to theft - but didn't turn up to be sentenced, so are still walking free.

Amir, from White City, London, estimated around £500 of cash was stolen and £2,000 worth of damage was left behind.

He has slammed the police, and accused them of failing to take his crime seriously.

Amir said: "When I called 999 around half an hour after the crime, the police told me there wasn't anything they could do as it was a 'past' event.

"They also said they were busy and would send someone over at some point.

"I got really angry with them on the phone, and eventually went to the local police station with my brother to sort this out.

"I was concerned that we'd need a crime reference number so that we could claim insurance, as they caused a lot of damage.

"But the police officer I got was quite junior, and didn't seem to know what we was doing - or what they could do for us.

"We had to go back to the launderette when 101 called me to say they would send a forensics team over to take a look.

"But they didn't show, and only came over for 15 minutes the next morning."

CCTV footage belonging to Amir shows Connors and Brand walk into Wash Launderette 2.0 at around 8pm on September 1 as a mum leaves with her two kids.

They can be seen sitting on a bench before the woman - dressed in pink - heads to the launderette entrance - seemingly acting as a look-out.

Brand, wearing a white sweater and grey bottoms, strolls down the room to the cash machine at the back, holding a hammer.

He then spends several minutes trying to pull the front of the cash machine off before he rips the bottom open and coins flood out.

They steal money before making a quick escape on a Boris bike.

Amir called police and then later said he and brother Ali, 45, spotted Connors and Brand later that same night, cycling around on Boris bikes in the area.

As a chase began, Amir claimed he called the police again - who told him not to pursue the criminals and that they'd "deal with it", he said.

Incensed Amir accused the police of being unwilling or unable to help - and became so irate that he put up nearly 60 posters to help locals track the burglars.

He said when local business owners were able to pin the pair to an address, police fobbed Amir and Ali off again.

Amir said: "At one point, we managed to trace them to a residence.

"Police told Ali to refer the matter to the relevant department."

He said that he'd been "worried stick" for two weeks, not least because a busted change machine has hit the business' finances hard.

But on September 16, Amir received an email from police saying the pair had "handed themselves into Shepherds Bush Police station".

He later found out that they had done this just THREE DAYS after the alleged raid on his business - long before they were arrested.

But the email from a PC added they "were not arrested by the officers due to some sort of misunderstanding. I'm not entirely sure why they were not arrested there and then".

And on the 17th, police wrote to Amir: "Both suspects were arrested last night.

"They are going to be interviewed a bit later this morning."

Amir is worried other criminals will view his launderette as a "soft target".

He admitted that he's also worried about the precedent set by the police for allowing the two criminals to "hand themselves over".

Amir said: "Obviously, I'm glad that some kind of arrest has been made.

"But it wouldn't have happened without me and Ali guiding them at every step.

"We spearheaded the investigation. We sent the police the tapes. We put up dozens of posters in the areas and warned locals about the pair.

"We even managed to track them down to an address and told police about it.

"I worried for those two weeks that they might come back.

"They burgled us on a Sunday night, and it wasn't very late. They were probably riddled with drugs, and weren't afraid of being caught.

"What if someone had been there? The guy had a hammer."

He added: "Even now, I'm concerned that their friends will come over.

"If people can get away with small crimes like this, what of big crimes?"

The Met Police confirmed they were contacted at around 8.15pm "following a theft at an unmanned self-service laundrette".

They also confirmed that two suspects "entered the premises and forced open a change dispensing machine, stealing a quantity of cash before fleeing."

A spokesperson added: "On 4 September two people attended a central London police station in relation to the incident.

"They were spoken to and their details taken; neither were arrested at that stage."

Margaret Connors, 46, and and Danny Brand, 36, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to charges of theft at Highbury Magistrates' Court on September 18.

They failed to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on October 9 for sentencing, and a warrant has been issued for their arrests.

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