Moped thieves jailed after driving wrong way down motorway in 90mph police chase

Hatty Collier

Two moped thieves who snatched 18 mobile phones from pedestrians in one afternoon in London before leading police on a 90 mph chase have been jailed.

Zuriel Hutson, 21, and Sharuk Sheraji, 22, carried out a string of thefts using a high powered stolen moped on a Monday afternoon in November last year.

In just a few hours they snatched 10 phones in Westminster, three in Camden, two in Islington, two in Hackney and one in Tower Hamlets.

The pair were caught after officers from the Met and City Police’s Operation Attrition team, which targets moped snatches, raced to intercept them in unmarked cars with back up from a police helicopter.

Police chase: A moped is seen being driven the wrong way down a dual carriageway

Sheraji jumped off the moped and attempted to flee on foot when they stopped in Whitehall Street, Haringey, but was caught by the officers. He was found in possession of the 18 stolen phones and was arrested for attempted robbery.

Hutson evaded officers and drove off on the moped, fleeing north onto the North Circular and then onto the M11 where, reaching speeds of 90 mph, he wove in and out of traffic often on the wrong side of the carriageway.

Video footage shows other drivers swerving out of his way to avoid head-on collisions. Some were involved in minor crashes because of Hutson's riding.

Dodging traffic: aerial footage of the chase

On The M11, Hutson tried to squeeze in between two cars in the gap between lanes two and three, but instead collided with them.

The impact forced him to crash his moped, knocking his shoes off his feet as he skidded and rolled along the motorway.

Police were forced to close part of the M11 to prevent further danger to motorists.

Hutson got back up, restarted his moped and continued along the hard shoulder, again against oncoming traffic.

Police deployed a 'stinger' tyre deflation device ahead of Hutson, which safely slowed him down and eventually stopped him on the slip road of the M11 to the M25.

Danger: one of the riders crosses lanes on the M11

He then attempted to flee bare foot, but police soon caught up with him and he was arrested.

Hutson, of Highbury New Park, Islington, north London was sentenced two and a half years' imprisonment after he had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, dangerous driving and breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order at Wood Green Crown Court January 31.

Sheraji of of Sebastion House, Hoxton Street, north London, was jailed for two years after he had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order at Wood Green Crown Court on February 9.

They were both sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday.

Facing jail: Zuriel Hutson, left, and Sharuk Sheraji

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Heatley said: "Both defendants, Hutson in particular, could have caused serious injury to the victims, the public, other motorists and themselves, in their callous execution of their crimes and attempts to evade justice. They had no regard for anyone but themselves.

"These offenders relied on the unwariness of the public to snatch their phones whilst they made calls so it is imperative that the public are aware of their surroundings at all times and keep their phones secure at all times as this crime happens in an instant."