Crime

Gang convicted for ‘violent’ jewellery raids in Manchester and London

Three men have been convicted following a string of commercial robberies on jewellery stores and money transfer shops.

Over the course of a year the gang targeted seven stores, using rubber blocks and hammers to smash shop windows and steal jewellery from window displays.

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It is believed that the men robbed businesses of at least £460,000 and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

On 22 January, the three men snatched jewellery and Rolex watches from Carr Jewellers in London’s Liverpool Street. One was caught when a plain-clothes police officer blocked his escape, which was captured on mobile phone footage by a passer-by.

Alex Parle, 22, Conor Gartland, 18, and Thomas O’Connor, 23, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to rob between the 15 February 2014 and 23 January 2015. They will be sentenced on 15 December.

Damaris Lakin, reviewing lawyer for Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) London, said: “Their actions terrified staff at these businesses and passers-by alike, with a witness describing one of the raids as “violent and frenzied”.

“The frenzied raids meant a trail of evidence was left behind and this, as well as the analysis of cell site and DNA evidence, was central to the thorough police investigation. This meant the CPS was able to put a strong case before the court and these individuals had no choice but to plead guilty at this early stage of proceedings.”

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