‘Ruthless’ gang who robbed sex workers at knife-point in their own homes are jailed

CCTV footage showed the men ransacking a woman's flat while she is left defenceless (Picture: Met Police)

An east London gang who robbed sex workers at knife-point after forcing their way into their homes have been jailed.

Four men were convicted of seven robberies against nine female victims carried out across London over a seven-month period in 2018.

Erlandos Vyte, 24, on all but one occasion would call up to book an appointment, then when the escort opened the door the other men Robertas Zilionas, 21, Jospin Ble, 23, and Joshua Coke, 21, would force their way in and rob the victim.

Vyte pleaded guilty to nine counts of robbery, while his three co-defendants were all found guilty by the jury on December 6 following the conclusion of the six-week trial. 

He was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in jail.

Zilionas, 21, was found guilty of five counts and jailed for 14 years. 

Ble, 23, was also found guilty of five counts, and sentenced to 12 years.

Coke, 21, was guilty of one count and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Joshua Coke was part of the gang (Picture: Met Police)

The women were tied up with items the men came equipped with or found at their homes.

The sex workers were often threatened with knives before their cards, money, phones and other personal possessions were stolen.

Police say the attacks left many of the victims with "lasting psychologically damaging effects".

One of the women said she recalled shaking violently during the robbery, suffering a panic attack as the robbers ransacked the flat.

She said: “Before this happened I was happy with the work I was doing, but now every time, I am aware of the risk and worry both of us have changed drastically the way we work.

She added that even hearing the same foreign accent of the men who attacked them in a bar triggers such fear it can cause them to have to leave the vicinity.

Jospin Ble was also jailed (Picture: Met Police)

The men targeted seven locations, starting in June 2018 in Westminster, followed by three robberies on the Isle of Dogs and Hackney in October 2018.

In December 2018, they moved onto Kensington, while the final two robberies were carried out in Tower Hamlets.

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Detectives managed to track down the robbers from just one lead, a fragment of a latex glove left by Ble.

This led to managing to track and analyse 327,000 separate lines of phone data as well as many hours of CCTV footage.

The four men were arrested from January to May 2019 and charged.

CCTV footage showed the men ransacking a woman's flat while she is left defenceless against her armed attackers.

Robertas Zilionis was part of the east London gang (Picture: Met Police)
Erlandos Vyte would call up to book an appointment with the women (Picture: Met Police)

Detective Sergeant Patrick Allen, said: "These crimes were committed by a ruthless group of men armed with knives who targeted lone vulnerable women [working] in their own homes.

"They attacked these women believing they would not report the incidents to police due to fear, embarrassment or the belief that the women would just see this as an occupational hazard.

"They were wrong, and I'd like to praise those women that did come forward. I would like to assure those women and men involved in the escort trade that no matter what work you do if you make an allegation of crime it will be taken seriously and robustly investigated by the Met.

Related: Man Jailed for 16 Years for Brutal Machete Attack on Police Officer