Romanian gang targeted Wembley jewellers as part of £1m robbery spree across London
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Ten men have admitted conspiracy to rob and will be sentenced tomorrow
A Romanian gang came to Britain to take part in a £1 million gold robbery campaign, the Old Bailey has heard.
Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, said: “This was a sophisticated, well-planned conspiracy deliberately targeting jewellers.
“All the defendants are Romanian. These are all relatively young men who came to this country to rob.”
The 10 men carried out a series of robberies at jeweller’s shops in which they emptied shelves in seconds.
In March, last year, £500,000 of goods was taken from a shop which was “trashed” in Wembley.
Nothing was recovered.
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A month later, part of a £248,648 haul was found in a hole which the gang had dug to hide evidence near a shop in Ilford, east London, said Mr Polnay.
In August, £341,435 of goods was taken from a shop in East Ham, east London.
Two other attempted robberies were abandoned and the gang was captured after being caught red-handed during a £62,580 robbery in Turnpike Lane, north London, in September.
An elderly man was injured after being struck with a hammer before Flying Squad officers made arrests using Taser guns.
After being arrested one member Ovidiu Gabor, 25, told police: “I don’t care, I go to prison to go on holiday.”
Mr Polnay said the men lived camped out on wasteland near the A12 while planning the robberies on Asian and Turkish jewellers where high-carat gold was sold.
The usual plan involved one of the gang dressed in pin-stripes and a trilby hat, being buzzed in and holding the door for an accomplice to smash his way in with a sledgehammer.
The rest of the gang would run in and smash display cabinets with bats and hammers before running off with gold jewellery.
They would make off over rail lines, discarding their weapons and outer clothing.
The gang netted £1.1 million last year but only £135,580 had been recovered.
Gabor, Catalin Paise, 20, Puiu-Danut Paunescu, 26, Marius Barbu, 25, Vasile Batarga, 23, Iulian Culba, 22, , Ioan Gavrilit, 26, Constantin Irina, 30, Georghe Macovei, 23 and Iulian Roman, 21, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob.
They were all remanded in custody to be sentenced tomorrow.