Radio Sandwell Local News

Robbers who rubbed chilli powder into victims' eyes jailed

2015-01-30 22:30:35

Kashif and Khalid AshrafKashif Ashraf (left), 34, and Khalid Ashraf, 28

Two Black Country brothers used chilli powder to temporarily blind some of their victims before stealing their phones in a in a "campaign of terror."

Kashif Ashraf, 34, and Khalid Ashraf, 28, both of Portland Road, Smethwick, were sent to prison for six and seven years respectively at Birmingham Crown Court after they were found guilty of four street robberies.

At the time of the four robberies, Kashif Ashraf was already on bail in connection with an attempted robbery on a lone woman - he was found guilty of that offence in September last year.

During a preliminary hearing, Kashif admitted one of the robberies but maintained his innocence to the other three throughout the trial.

The court was told that the thefts took place during June and July last year in Birmingham when the pair would lie in wait and prey on lone women.

In the first robbery, a 23-year-old woman was followed as she walked from Five Ways Island into a subway. The woman's phone was grabbed and, as she screamed for help, the pair rubbed chilli powder into her eyes.

Nine days later they robbed an 18-year-old girl who was using her phone near the same location. One of the brothers grabbed the phone while his accomplice rubbed the red-hot powder into the victim's face.

Later that same day, a 30-year-old woman had her phone snatched as she sat outside a supermarket on the Hagley Road. The pair were eventually snared when a passer-by chased the brothers who had stolen a phone from a woman in Upper Dean Street. He managed to flag down a passing police car and the men were arrested.

DC Jamie Simon, of West Midlands Police, said: "The judge described it as a short campaign of terror, targeted against vulnerable females, which was clearly planned and aggravated by the fact that chilli pepper was used as a weapon during two of the robberies.

"Three of the women were physically hurt during their ordeal particularly when the substance believed to be chilli powder was used. We believe this was a deliberate attempt by the brothers to try and mask their identity."

She said neither of the brothers showed any remorse or gave any thought to their victims who were all clearly left upset and traumatised.

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