September 30 2014 Latest news:
Freddy Mayhew, Senior reporter
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
An armed gang who smashed their way into a luxury watch shop have been jailed for a total of 39 years.
The five-strong group targeted the Breitling store inside the Westfield Stratford City mega mall where watches retail for anything up to several thousand pounds.
Each pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and were sentenced on Monday at Kingston Crown Court.
Ian Rawlings, 20, of Mitchison Road, Canonbury, was jailed for eight years for his part in the smash and grab to run concurrently with a ten year sentence for conspiracy to commit robbery at the Selfridges Wonder Room, Oxford Street, as part of another gang.
Wayne Worrell, of Harrier Way, Beckton, and Kaval Kalychurn, of White Hart Lane, Tottenham, both 23, along with Ronan O’Brien, 25, of no fixed abode, were all given eight-year prison sentences.
Steven Raine, 28, of no fixed address, was jailed for seven years.
Throughout the trial, jurors heard how the men jumped out of a stolen BMW car and ran towards the store just after midnight on Thursday, September 5, wielding hammers and an axe with hoods up and faces covered.
CCTV images showed Raine strike the first blow on the shop front, sending members of the public running terrified from the scene.
He then went inside with O’Brien and Worrell who together began smashing displays and taking watches before they were swooped on and surrounded by armed officers.
Rawlings, who was in the car, was seen driving away at speed. Police later arrested him in Islington after he crashed into a parked car and attempted to hide in a nearby housing estate.
Det Con Kevin Parley said: “This was an organised criminal group who came fully equipped to commit a violent crime.
“They gave no thought to the members of the public who were in the centre at the time who could be clearly seen on CCTV fleeing in terror. This type of crime is not victimless and the sentences handed to the men reflect that.”