One criminal was brought up in his parent’s £1m house in Berkhamsted and runs a vegan supermarket in Hackney
Last month the Metropolitan Police revealed they had arrested 113 people as part of huge Europe wide operation against serious and organised crime. Altogether in the UK some 746 people were arrested after the National Crime Agency working with Europol cracked an encrypted phone network called EncroChat used by criminals.
What emerged was that many of the criminals were not based in the cliched inner city housing estates but in the leafy suburbs and posh, respectable towns in the Home Counties.
At the end of last month two of the criminals who were arrested in May were convicted in the courts after pleading guilty to firearms and drugs offences. Jody Hall, 46, of Carters Hill Close, Mottingham was sentenced to 12 years and Harry El Araby,33, now of Palmers Road, Bethnal Green, to six years.
A picture of the two characters emerged in the Met Police’s report. Jody Hall lived with is partner in a respectable flat in Mottigham in the London borough of Bromley.
The police who must have been monitoring their phones staged a stake out near his home. They saw Hall leave his flat and go to a lock up garage.
The Met Police report goes on :
“A minute or so later he left the garage carrying a bulky item wrapped in a white carrier bag, which also had yellow and green on it. He carried the item in his right gloved hand to his car where he placed it inside the driving seat area. He then closed the car door and walked away towards his home address empty handed.
A short while later, Hall walked back to the car where he briefly parked in front of his garage and made a phone call before driving to the exit of the close.
Once there he parked and was met by El Araby who arrived on a bicycle with a rucksack on his back.
An exchange took place and El Araby cycled off while Hall returned to his car.”
Then the police pounced. El Araby was stopped and the contents of the bag seized. In it were £10,000 in cash, a Glock hand gun, a silencer and 50 rounds of ammunition.
Cocaine and guns seized by the police Pic credit: Met Police
Hall’s home was raided and police found 11 kilograms of cocaine and £4000 in cash. They checked his garage and found a revolver concealed in an old washing machine. A specialist search team then conducted a more thorough search and found a Berreta handgun with six rounds of ammunition in the clip.
Neither of them would disclose to the police why they had guns but the suspicion must be that someone was going to be killed.
Detective Constable Gio Antoniazzi, the investigating officer, said: “These guns, and every individual bullet, represent a life that could have been lost or changed forever and so I am delighted that we were able to remove them from streets of London.
“This was a fantastic team effort and the evidence gathered resulted in Hall and El Araby having no option but to plead guilty. I hope this makes people think twice about procuring dangerous weapons.”
On the surface Harry El Araby appears to be a very respectable person. He was brought up in Berkhamsted . His parents house is in a respectable leafy cul de sac in Berkhamsted where house prices have gone up ten fold in the last twenty years. El Araqby registered one of his companies there.
He also runs the Plant Based Supermarket in Homerton, Hackney where last July he gave an interview to East London Lines as a pillar of the local community.
He claimed then to be living in New Cross and told a reporter:
“I have been vegan for more than four years and I have tasted a lot of stuff; I try to pick things that I know are good and I try to hit every angle. I feel we have the widest range of vegan products and all are very good quality”.
“We believe in the little man,” says El Araby. “Most of our suppliers are English, so we support the local economy and we impact the environment less”.
“we contribute to charitable purposes” – El Araby
“There are a lot of smaller brands in here and we try to help them as much as possible, we use coffee from Climpson & Sons, a local coffee place brewed in Hackney that has a better-than-fair-trade policy, we get the bread from Better Health Bakery, which is a charity that helps people get back into work. We try to be local as much as we can and contribute to charitable purposes”
He also tried crowdfunding to raise enough money to create a national website to sell vegan food on line – but only raised £150 towards a £3000 target. He now has a website.
One can only imagine what drove this man brought up in respectable Berkhamsted ( the house last changed hands in 1998 according to the Land Registry) and running an eco friendly shop to a life of crime with guns and bullets and wads of cash. Might make a good crime story for TV and I suspect this won’t be last exposure to come from those 746 arrests last month.