VIDEO: Romanian gang who targeted Wembley jewellery shop in £1m robbery spree sent to jail
- Credit: Archant
Armed mob also struck in Ilford, East Ham, Turnpike Lane and Walworth Road
A Romanian gang who targeted a string of Asian and Turkish jewellery shops have been jailed for a total of 82 years today – a year to the day they struck in Wembley.
The ten men carried out a £1million six-month long robbery spree where they stormed into seven premises and emptied their display cabinets within minutes before police could respond to alarms.
On March 28 last year, Raj Jewels in Ealing Road was targeted with the robbers setting fire to a car outside the premises before fleeing with £500,000 worth of goods.
The Old Bailey heard the gang, who had come to the UK with the intention of robbing jewellery shops of large amounts of high-quality gold, used an identical Modus Operandi to gain entry into the shops.
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A member dressed in pin-stripes and a trilby hat, would be buzzed in and then hold the door for an accomplice to smash his way in with a sledgehammer.
The rest of the gang would then storm in and smash display cabinets with bats and hammers before fleeing with gold jewellery.
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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.”
They also struck in Ilford, East Ham, Turnpike Lane and Walworth Road, netting more than £1.1m.
Police have only recovered £135,580 to date.
They were caught after police kept watch on a makeshift campsite they were using on waste ground near the A12 in Essex.
After being arrested, one of the gang members Ovidiu Gabor, 25, told police: “I don’t care, I go to prison to go on holiday.”
The gang, all of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob.
Four members were convicted of taking part in the robbery committed in Wembley.
Ioan Gavrilut, 26, Marius Andrei Barbu, 25, Gheorge Macovei, 23, and 22-year-old Iulian Culba.
Sentencing them to individual jail terms Judge Timothy Pontius said there were fears an influx of people from Romania and Bulgaria when restrictions are lifted next year would lead to an increase in crime.
He warned: “Anyone who comes to the UK - irrespective of whatever part of the world - wanting to commit serious crime, must clearly understand such abuse of the hospitality of this country and its people must be seriously punished.
“It follows that the more grave the crime, the more severe the retribution will be.
“No one should think for a moment that courts in the UK will be a soft touch.
“Sentences such as these must be a powerful deterrent not only to homegrown but imported criminals.”
To see all the robbers and their sentences click on the picture gallery at the top right.