A man from Brent has been jailed for his role in staged robberies at two of London’s most famous art galleries.
Endrit Ferizolli was part of a group of men who pretended to rob the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Gallery last year as part of an elaborate YouTube prank.
The five men burst into the galleries with their faces covered and began shouting and screaming, causing panic among the members of public, which was captured on CCTV.
They then fled from the galleries with framed artwork, giving the impression of a robbery. However, no robbery had taken place, as the men had entered the gallery with artwork props which they displayed as they made off.
They struck at 3.30pm on July 5 at the National Portrait Gallery, before repeating the same stunt that same afternoon at the Tate .
Twenty-year-old Ferizolli, from Wakemans Hill Avenue, was jailed for 16 weeks for his role in the National Portrait Gallery incident and eight weeks for his involvement in the Tate Gallery offence. Both will run concurrently at a youth offending institute.
His accomplices Daniel Raymond Marcus Jarvis from Whitehill Road, Gravesend, Kent, Ebenezer Mensah from Sumner Road, Peckham, Helder Gomes from Grantham Road, Lambeth and were also given prison sentences for their part in the stunts when the group appeared at City of London Magistrates’ Court on May 16.
READ MORE: Eight great museums to visit
Dan Vahn Lee from Belham Walk, Southwark, was jailed in March for 12 weeks for his involvement in the National Portrait Gallery incident.
Four of the five men were arrested on the day of the incident for public order offences and pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 4 Public Order Act 1986, namely causing fear and provocation of violence.
'The group terrified those visiting the galleries'
Detective Constable Anthony Parker, from the Met’s Public Order Crime Team, led the investigation. He said: “The actions of these five men was outrageous. To go into busy public places wearing masks shouting and screaming at a time of heightened awareness of the terrorism threat facing the UK is deplorable.
“The group terrified those visiting the galleries. It is only by pure chance that no one was injured or suffered serious health issues as they fled in what the judge described as a “stampede”. All five men now have a number of weeks in jail to consider just how unfunny their stunts actually were.”
Two other men, aged 23 and 30, arrested in connection with the offences, were released with no further action.