Jailed chainsaw gang hit "soft target" jewellers

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West Yorkshire gang targeted Asian jewellery retailers in £250k raids.

A gang of four men who used chainsaws during a spate of robberies at jewellers in West Yorkshire have been jailed.

The group targeted Asian jewellery shops with an arsenal of weapons including sledgehammers, pick axes and knives.

The men were jailed this week for a total of 57 years, following a three-week trial at Leeds Crown Court. Patrick "Mandy"Lowther 33, Steven Barker, 35, and Garner Smith, 33, were each jailed for 16 years after being convicted of conspiracy to rob, while accomplice John Boy Morrison, 40, was jailed for nine years.

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According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the gang of four made off with about £250,000 of gold and jewellery during the robberies.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC, said: “The target of this conspiracy was a number of Asian jewellery shops in the area of West Yorkshire.

“The distinction between such shops and high street jewellers is they are often in quiet residential areas and often occupied by (lone) proprietors. In other words they present a soft target. But these yield valuable rewards to men like you.”

The raids were carried out in early 2012. The men would target shops at closing time, throwing jewellery into builder’s bags during the raids. In one incident at Assad Jewellers in Batley, the gang forced their way into the store by reversing a VW Transporter van through the door.

The owners managed to keep them out but one member of staff suffered a slash to his arm and needed hospital treatment.

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