TWO men from Hillingdon have been jailed along with five others for their part in a series of jewellery and security van robberies.

The gang of seven, led by a police adviser on youth offending, were jailed for a total of 117 years last Friday at The Old Bailey.

The judge said that Orsan De Silva, 27, of Emden Close, West Drayton, was 'instrumental' in the robbery conspiracy, and he was jailed for 24 years.

Orsan is the nephew of the gang leader, Emmanuel De Silva, 39, of Hammersmith Grove, Hammersmith, who was jailed for 23 years

Emmanuel De Silva was a police adviser, who had been given police handouts and £5,000 in lottery grants to help under-privileged youngsters.

But he used his charity group as a recruiting ground for young villains and exerted a Fagin type influence over them, the court heard.

He led the group of six in a series of security van raids which netted £100,000 for the gang, who were know as 'The Underground G's'.

He set up a charity called Buyaka in 1998 to help black youths in Notting Hill, and became chairman of the group, the court was told.

The role provided the perfect cover for De Silva to carry out six violent security van raids, and also gave De Silva inside information on the way police work. Orsan De Silva planned the raids with his uncle and also helped with the charity by distributing leaflets, it was said.

The gang terrorised guards with axes, iron bars and a sawn-off shotgun after setting out from lock-up garages rented on the pretence they were storing Notting Hill Carnival costumes.

Bryan Mason, 43, of Headbrook Crescent, Hayes, was a security guard for Brinks Ltd, and was recruited as an 'inside man'. He was jailed for 18 years.

The judge said Mason's role abused the trust of the public and his employers and risked the lives of innocent bystanders.

The gang hit a van manned by Mason delivering cash to a post office in Bromley-by-Bow on May 30, 2000. Two robbers armed with a shotgun attacked Mason and grabbed a cash box containing £33,000, escaping on a motorbike.

Judge Timothy Pontius said the gang were 'determined and ruthless criminals'. He said: "There is a clear responsibility amounting to public duty upon the courts to pass a sentence which not only punishes with adequate severity but also, and much more importantly, provides a high degree of protection to the public in general.

"The public deserves and demands and must receive that high degree of protection from this court."