Five men have received a combined sentence of almost 40 years for a series of 13 robberies carried out at newsagents and convenience stores in London.

Following a Metropolitan Police operation, the five men were captured during a raid on a store, with four of them sentenced to between three and eight years for conspiracy to commit robbery and one receiving a 14-year sentence for conspiracy to commit robbery and possessing a firearm.

The gang had targeted 13 stores in London between November 2011 and March 2012.

One retailer, who was beaten into unconsciousness during a robbery by the gang, expressed relief at the imprisonment of his attackers.

Valautham Vijaykumar and his brother-in-law Parathan Nadarajah were attacked by two of the gang as they worked in the Orchard Food Store in Woodford Green, Essex on December 21, 2011.

The two men attempted to rob the store and when Valautham reached for the panic alarm, one of the raiders hit him with a bottle of wine and kicked him until he lost consciousness.

It was only when a passer-by came in that the attack stopped and the two men fled.

Fortunately Valautham and Parathan suffered no lasting injuries but they are still wary of reprisals. “Even now if I see somebody I don’t know coming into the shop, I think it might be those men coming back to get me,” said Valautham. “It is a relief to know these men are in prison.”