A gang of Birmingham criminals made a smash and grab raid taking £300,000 in jewellery.
The sophisticated gang travelled across the country from the Midlands to target a small jewellery shop in Newcastle’s West End.
The raiders carried out surveillance on Sunny Jewellers, inArthur’s Hill before eventually striking at just before 1pm, on May 16. Watchthe amazing video of the raid below.
In a broad daylight smash and grab raid, lasting less than aminute, the balaclava-clad gold bandits, some of whom come from Birmingham,smashed their way into display cabinets with hammers and stole a huge haul ofspecialist jewellery, worth a staggering £300,000, ChronicleLive reports.
On Thursday, after ringleader Usman Khan and his accompliceswere convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, Det Cons Steve Patterson said:“The incident itself was over in a matter of seconds but the investigation toput this gang behind bars has taken months of good old-fashioned detectivework.”
Ali Askhor, 19, posed as an innocent customer to allow the gang to get inside the jewellers, on Tamworth Road, as its front door is kept locked.
CCTV footage, which police say was shown during the trial at Manchester Crown Court, shows a staff member unlock the door, at which point other gang members burst into the shop wearing balaclavas and gloves.
The raiders, who were carrying hammers, were Khan, 20, Shahzad Farooq, 21, and an unidentified third man, police say the court was told.
The gang used their weapons to smash display cabinets.
Smoke alarms in the shop were activated before the men fled the scene in a black Audi S5, leaving staff badly shaken but uninjured.
Detectives launched an investigation to trace the raiders,but the trail quickly went cold when they discovered the gang had switchedcars, to a BMW X5, minutes after the robbery.
However, a breakthrough came two days later when police received a call to say a vehicle had been found dumped in a street in Oldham, near Manchester.
Enquiries identified the car as the Audi involved in theheist and within days the main suspects, who all lived in Oldham andBirmingham, had been identified. All were arrested and charged with conspiracyto commit robbery. Det Cons Patterson explained: “We have trawled CCTV, usedANPR, downloaded huge amounts of mobile phone data and spoken to hundreds ofwitnesses.
“Ultimately it came down to one call from a member of the public in Manchester who was concerned about a car that had been left on her street.
“That was the stroke of luck we needed in the investigation and from there the map of all those involved in the conspiracy started to come together.” Mobile phone data proved it was Samantha Farrell-Blake, 44, who had picked the gang up in the BMW shortly after the robbery, police say.
And Shah Almaruf, 19, then drove back to Newcastle in the days after the incident to collect the abandoned Audi.
Khan, Almaruf and Askhor admitted their part in the heist.
But Farrell-Blake and Farooq were convicted after a trial,at Manchester Crown Court. A sixth defendant Shakil Hassan, 18, was aquitted.
However, what happened to their huge haul of jewellery todayremains a mystery.
Det Cons Patterson added: “Our only regret is that we were never able to recover the stolen jewellery but this case sends out a strong message to wannabe criminals.
“You may think you can travel hundreds of miles to commit violent crime for your own personal gain. The reality is we will always find you and you will end up behind bars.
“We also had invaluable support from detectives in Greater Manchester Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Team and without their support we may not have caught this gang.”
Khan, of Newton Road, Great Barr, Almaruf, of MiddletonAvenue, Oldham, Askhor, of Sherwood Street, Oldham, and Farooq, of Durham Road,Sparkhill, and Farrell-Blake, of Wynn Street, Birmingham were remanded incustody and will be sentenced next month on February 15.
The case has been heard at Manchester Crown Court.
A seventh suspect arrested during the investigation was released with no further action prior to the trial. Following the convictions Supt Steve Barron, who helps oversee policing in Newcastle and Gateshead, praised the investigation team.