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Hatton Garden jeweller jailed over stolen watches

Seven men including a Hatton Garden jeweller have been jailed for 64 years for their varying involvement in 10 smash and grab raids across London.

Reece Dunford, 31 of Osprey Road, Waltham Abbey, Essex, played a role in all the robberies at high-end shops in the West End. Sometimes he carried out the raids, other times he handled stolen goods. He was arrested after trying to organise his own smash-and-grab last year.

Dunford was assisted on various occasions by the eight others sentenced alongside him today, Thursday, 30 July at Kingston Crown Court.

One of his cohorts was Hatton Garden jeweller Yair Cohen, 71, of Walnut Court, Woodmill Road, Hackney. In 2013, Dunford bought watches stolen during a raid on Selfridges in which robbers – previously sentenced and not amongst those being sentenced today – disguised themselves in burkhas. Dunford sold the watches on to Cohen.

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Dunford and Cohen fell foul of the police after the former orchestrated a morning raid on Mappin and Webb in the City.

Acting under Dunford’s instruction, Vincent Kamara, 28, of Endsleight Street, Camden; Boz Burbridge, 31 of Calthorpe Street, Camden; David Mays, 33 of Chessington Avenue, Bexleyheath, Bexley, and Danny St Luce, 29 of Wakelen House, Sebbon Street, Islington drove up to the store on two high-powered motorcycles. They used one of the bikes to burst through the doors.

Two of the men – believed to be Burbridge and Mays – ran inside, still wearing their motorcycle helmets and armed with sledgehammers and an axe. A third man, believed to be St Luce – waited outside.

They threatened terrified members of staff before Kamara directed Burbridge and Mays towards the shop displays with the most valuable watches. They smashed through the glass cabinets and made off with over £300,000 of Rolex watches, leaving the sledgehammers and an axe behind at the scene.

The watches were dropped off at a house linked to the gang in Islington but less than three hours later, detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad swooped on the address.

In the living room, they caught Dunford and Cohen red-handed, surrounded by the stolen watches with price tags still attached.

Today, Dunford was jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to rob Mappin and Webb; conspiracy to burgle Goldsmiths in Colchester and Alexander McQueen; conspiracy to produce Class B drugs; and conspiracy to handle stolen goods from Pauric Sweeney, Selfridges, Prada, Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel, Watches of Switzerland, Mappin and Webb and Jimmy Choo.

Cohen was jailed for six years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods at Selfridges; conspiracy to handle stolen goods from Watches of Switzerland; conspiracy to handle stolen goods from Mappin and Webb; converting criminal property; entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement and cheating the revenue.

Kamara was jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to commit robbery at Mappin and Webb.

For conspiracy to rob Mappin and Webb, Mays was jailed for eight years; St Luce was jailed for seven years and Burbridge was jailed for seven years.

Patrick Spencer O’Brien, 23 of Arlington Square, Islington was jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to commit robbery at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel.

Sentencing of Dunford’s girlfriend Hollie Dowding, 25 of Osprey Road, Waltham Abbey, Essex and Rusudan Kritcheli, 49 of Walnut Court, Woodmill Road, Hackney for their part has been adjourned to 19 August.

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