The Grenadier Guards outside Buckingham Palace

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The Grenadier Guards carry out ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle

Two serving soldiers in a regiment that performs ceremonial duties for the Queen carried out armed robberies across London, a court has heard.

Grenadier Guards Kristopher James-Merrill, 20, and Marlon Wright, 25, deny raiding seven convenience stores in July 2018.

Their friend, Dillon Sharpe, 23, from Dulwich, has previously pleaded guilty to robbery and weapons charges.

He threatened shopkeepers with a handgun for cash, the court heard.

Sharpe has admitted four attempted robberies, three robberies and seven counts of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and is not standing trial, Kingston Crown Court was told.

Mr James-Merrill, from Brixton, and his comrade Mr Wright, from Mitcham, deny all 14 charges.

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Marlon Wright is a serving soldier

The court heard four shops in south London were targeted between about 11:00 BST on 24 July 2018 and the early hours of the following day.

Another three robberies or attempted robberies were carried out within an hour on 26 July, the jury was told.

Prosecutor Fraser Coxhill said: “Over a three-day period, the same hooded and masked man entered seven small convenience shops and robbed, or attempted to rob, the shopkeepers of cash.

“On each occasion, he threatened those who worked there with what appeared to be a firearm.

“It is the prosecution case that these defendants, together with another male, Dillon Sharpe, each played a role in these offences.”

The court heard Sharpe entered the first shop in Croydon wearing a mask and black clothing, demanding the shopkeeper open the safe before pointing a handgun at him.

He made off with about £1,000 from the till after a scuffle which left the victim with injuries to his face and head.

Jurors were told a shopkeeper in a West Molesey convenience store “feared he would be shot and killed” when Sharpe pointed a handgun at him on the night of 26 July and “aggressively” shouted to open the till.

Sharpe failed in two further attempted robberies in Cambridge Road, Kingston, despite pointing his gun at a 15-year-old boy and asking his mother to open the till.

The trial continues.

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