A man has been jailed after using a sawn-off double barrelled shotgun during two terrifying robberies on young professionals, one in Tower Hamlets.

Homeless Mark O’Reilly, 24, who showed “cold indifference to the suffering of his victims” was jailed for a total of 15 years at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

On June 15, O’Reilly, claiming to be a prospective tenant, lured a 24-year-old estate agent to a property at Bromley-by-Bow. Once inside, he brandished the shotgun in front of the agent and the 20-year-old tenant.

He bound their hands and feet, searched the flat, and then demanded pass codes for his victims’ phones, bank cards and computers – with the shotgun to their heads. He stole cash, bank cards and an iPad.

Less than a week later, he carried out the same style of attack, this time in Gladstone Avenue, Haringey, claiming his girlfriend wanted to see a property in the evening that O’Reilly had viewed in the afternoon.

The 22-year-old male estate agent met O’Reilly outside and he explained his girlfriend was running late. Again, once inside, he brandished the shotgun and ordered the estate agent to hand over his mobile phone, cash, driving licence, car key and flat keys.

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The police examined both crime scenes and forensic analysis linked O’Reilly to both crimes. He was arrested a few days later after an extensive manhunt across the capital, including officers from the Met’s Flying Squad. He was found with the shotgun – later proved to be an imitation.

O’Reilly was sentenced 12 years at Snaresbrook Crown Court for three firearm offences and three robbery offences after pleading guilty and a 15 years for two counts of possession of an imitation firearm in commission of an offence and one count of an imitation firearm on arrest.

Det Con Alan Henderson, from Tower Hamlets CID, said: “O’Reilly was calculated in the planning and execution of these crimes, he has shown a cold indifference to the suffering of his victims.

“We hope that the sentence he has received helps the victims in their recovery from the lasting mental trauma he inflicted. We know for a fact that he was planning further similar robberies when he was arrested and are pleased to have prevented him from carrying them out.”