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CCTV shows armed raid had inside help'

PUBLISHED: 17:06 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:12 23 August 2010

JURORS have been shown dramatic footage of the moment a store detective is alleged to have helped an armed robber grab £150,000 in takings. Snaresbrook Crown Court heard last Thursday that Debenhams employee Trusha Patel, 39, provided vital information f

JURORS have been shown dramatic footage of the moment a store detective is alleged to have helped an armed robber grab £150,000 in takings.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard last Thursday that Debenhams employee Trusha Patel, 39, provided vital information for a gang behind a series of armed raids.

Gang member Michael Taplin, 52, of Park Road, Gravesend, denies charges of conspiracy to rob and to have imitation firearms.

He appears alongside Edward Levy of Walthamstow, Shilpa Patel, her brother-in-law Nitin Patel and Trusha Patel, all from Ilford, and Nicholas Drakou, from Newmarket in Suffolk.

Keith Potter, Debenham's loss prevention manager, confirmed the woman in the footage was Trusha Patel.

He then said: "This man is obviously guided and told which way to go and which door to open as well."

The prosecution claim CCTV footage shows Trusha Patel allegedly "guiding" convicted armed raider Mark Vernage, 40, through a maze of service corridors and stairways at the department store in Romford, after a late night sale in November last year.

The pair were arrested when armed officers stormed the building.

Jurors were told that Levy had teamed up with Vernage, who has already admitted two charges of robbery, to target banks and department stores during a 12 month crime wave.

The prosecution claim the duo enlisted the help of others, including Taplin, and gang members to work as insiders.

It is alleged that HSBC cashier Shilpa Patel, 30, provided the gang with security door codes for a raid on HSBC's Loughton branch where they stole £200,000 in April last year. Prosecutors claim the gang also plotted to target the same branch between October and November last year but these raids were never carried out.

The trial continues.

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