Gang ‘have no assets’ to pay back true £300k value of stolen watches
A gang of robbers who stole designer watches worth £332,000 from an Oxford Street jewellers have been ordered to pay back just £12,000 of the watches’ value.
Matthew Pitt, 26, Craig Wallace, 22, Anthony Leader, 20, Reed Roberts, 19, and Kether Whatley, 23, are now serving a combined total of 26 years in jail.
They approached the Ernest Jones store in September 2009, pulling up on motorcycles, smashing the windows with sledgehammers and fleeing with Rolex and Breitling watches. The 46 watches stolen in the raid were never recovered and a sixth suspect still remains at large.
The five jailed gang members appeared at Southwark crown court for a confiscation hearing. It’s is claimed they had been hired by other criminals who had paid them for carrying out the raid.
The court hearing heard that despite the high value of the watches, the five suspects had almost no personal assets that could be seized as collateral. Judge Peter Testar ordered Leader to pay back £7,500 within 28 days or face another six months in prison, after hearing that was the sum believed to be recoverable.
Pitt will have the same amount of time to pay back £1,800, or he will serve 45 days in prison. Whatley will have to pay £2,505 or be jailed for another 54 days.
The further two suspects, Wallace and Roberts, are said to have no seizable assets and will pay just £1 each, or serve an extra day each in custody.
Leader and Roberts, both of Bloomsbury; Pitt, of Hampstead; Wallace, of Upper Holloway, and Whatley, of Islington, all admitted robbery.
Ernest Jones in Southend was targeted by watch thieves in January when "an unknown sum" of watches were stolen by two men on a motorcycle, in a similar smash-and-grab style of raid. The Basildon branch of the jeweller was targeted on December 22 when platinum and gold wedding bands were stolen from the store in the Eastgate Shopping Centre.