Ten men who targeted jewellers across the country, including a Kent branch of Goldsmiths and Lister Horsfell jewellers in Halifax, have been jailed for over 60 years.
The men were sentenced on 18 March at Blackfriars Crown Court for conspiracy to rob jewellers across the country between 1 February and 26 August this year. The charges included the robbery of Goldsmiths jewellers in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
The investigation began following the robbery of Goldsmiths jewellers in Tunbridge Wells on 3 February 2015. Three men riding two mopeds drove up outside the venue before smashing the windows with sledgehammers. They stole a quantity of Rolex watches before riding away from the scene.
Following the investigation, six men were arrested as they prepared to rob the Lister Horsfell jewellers in Halifax on 25 August 2015. Four further arrests were made as the investigation continued.
Using intelligence gathered following that raid, officers began to monitor the movements of the three men and to build up a comprehensive picture of their activity. They discovered the group were using a network of stolen vehicles including a white Transit van and mopeds which were disguised with false number plates. Officers also began to see that a wider group of people were involved in the network.
Over the next few months the group were observed as they carried out reconnaissance on potential targets in Stratford-upon-Avon, Truro, Bath, Wolverhampton, York and Ilkley and Yorkshire.
On 25 August, officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, supported by officers from West Yorkshire Police, Swooped as the gang prepared to Rob Lister Horsfell jewellers in Halifax.
The group had been observed casing the jewellers in the days prior to their arrest, using a house in Morley, West Yorkshire as a base.
Detective Constable Richard Watson of the Met’s Flying Squad said: “This group of ten men will now spend a considerable amount of time in custody as a result of a meticulous and skilled investigation by the Flying Squad.
“Given the items found during the arrests in West Yorkshire, it is clear the group were prepared to intimidate and possibly use violence to achieve their aims.
“I would like to thank the other police forces who helped us bring these men to justice and I believe this sends a strong message to those intent on committing commercial robbery that you will be pursued, arrested and put before the courts.”