Estonian watch thief deported to UK and jailed

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Armed robber gets 10 years for watch raids in Blackpool and Leeds.

A robber who pulled a gun on staff at Berry’s Jewellers in Leeds has been jailed for 10 years.

Algo Toomits was finally jailed for his crime more than four years after he terrorised staff at Berry’s and stole 30 watches with a retail value of £347,000.

The raid happened at the jewellers on Leeds’ Albion Street in February 2007. Toomits was admitted to the store through an electronically controlled door by staff who believed he was a genuine customer. Once inside he pulled out a handgun and forced staff to get down on the floor.

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Once Toomits has the staff on the ground, two other men entered the store and began to smash up the cabinets with hammers and escaped with a haul of watches that included Rolex timepieces.

The robbery at Berry’s was not Estonia-born Toomits’ first at a jewellers. In February 2006 he had been part of an armed gang that stole 40 watches worth £250,000 from a shop in Blackpool in a similar style of raid.

After both the Blackpool and Berry’s raids Toomits fled to Estonia but police chased him across borders. His DNA was left behind at the scene in Blackpool and at Berry’s he was caught on CCTV wearing distinctive clothing. Both sets of details were passed on to local police in Estonia, where Toomits had just landed a four-year jail sentence for drugs offences.

Once he had completed his jail sentence in Estonia, Toomits was deported to the UK to face fresh robbery charges relating to the Leeds and Blackpool raids. Toomits admitted to the offences, which Judge Peter Collier QC said were carried out with “ruthless precision”.

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