Knife-wielding robbers who targeted houses on Isle of Sheppey are jailed

Alfie Spain and Freddie Hanratty targetted three homes, forcing their way in and brandishing the weapons. Credit: Kent Police

Two men have been sentenced at court for committing three knifepoint robberies on the Isle of Sheppey.

Alfie Spain and Freddie Hanratty armed themselves with knives and travelled from London to Sheerness to target addresses belonging to people they did not know.

On the 20th March 2021, they first forced their way into a house in Alexandra Road while wearing face masks, and threatened a man inside the address with knives. They then left the scene on foot, empty handed.

The two men then went to an address in Victoria Street where they gained entry through the front door. They were wearing black disposal gloves and, once inside, threatened a man with the knives. They stole £200 in cash and a moped, using ignition keys taken from inside the house.

Police were alerted after Hanratty was seen by residents on the stolen moped in Hartlip Close. He abandoned the vehicle before the arrival of patrols and attending officers seized a black disposal glove that had been discarded nearby. This was later found to contain Spain's DNA.

The pair then went to a house in Queensway where they forced their way in and threatened a man and a woman who were inside with two children.

Hanratty demanded cash and, when the occupant said he did not keep any in the house, pulled a knife from his waistband and held it to the victim's face. Meanwhile, Spain searched the premises and, finding nothing to steal, left the address with his partner in crime, who threatened to kill the victims if the police were alerted.

An investigation was commenced by the Chief Constable's Crime Squad and following the seizure of CCTV footage and forensic examination at the scenes, Spain and Hanratty were identified as the offenders.

On the 21st of April, Hanratty was arrested at his home address in Gosterwood Street, Deptford, Greater London. Spain, of Czar Street, Deptford was arrested on the 29th of April in Chislehurst and both men were later charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possessing a knife in a public place.

The pair pleaded guilty and at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday 28th of September, 26-year-old Spain was jailed for six years and 20-year-old Hanratty was sentenced to four years in a young offenders' institution.