Gang jailed for armed robbery at Fraser Hart jewellers in Milton Keynes

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Members of a Romanian crime gang broke into jewellers across England in a series of burglaries where they stole more than £3.1m of property.

The six men were jailed for 47 years on March 17 for conspiring to commit burglaries at jewellers spanning nine counties.

The gang was responsible for the “high-value burglary” at Fraser Hart jewellers, in Silbury Arcade, CMK in 2015.

The men were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court for the offences, including the raid in Milton Keynes.

The gang tried to cover their escape by starting a fire nearby and padlocking a chain across the road to prevent a police pursuit.

Jewellery, including watches, rings, necklaces and other items were stolen from branches of Beaverbrooks, Fraser Hart, Goldsmiths and independent jewellers in a series of 11 raids described as ‘meticulously planned’ by the detective running the investigation.

Five men received the following sentences for conspiring to commit burglaries:

Bogdan Costel Neagu, 24, of no fixed address, sentenced to eight years two months.

Ioan Bucuresteanu, 24, of no fixed address, sentenced to eight years.

Vasile Daniel Cardos, 26, of Halesowen Street, Rowley Regis, West Midlands, sentenced to eight years two months.

Silvu Ioan Acatrinei, 20, no fixed address, sentenced to eight years two months.

Andrei Florin Tifui, 28, of no fixed address, sentenced to eight years two months.

Ioachim Karp, 19, of no fixed address, sentenced to six years six months for aggravated burglary and conspiracy.

Detective Chief Inspector Ricky Fields, of Staffordshire Police said: “We’re dealing with a group of individuals who are extremely organised and forensically aware.

“They went to great lengths and employed an interesting MO in an attempt to avoid detection.

“This is a complex investigation which spans other police force areas including Thames Valley, Hampshire, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire and was supported by the National Crime Agency and West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit and Romanian authorities.

“This was a highly organised Romanian crime group who, thanks to great partnership working between all forces, we were able to bring to justice.

“Police officers across the country have worked tirelessly and diligently to achieve this result today in court.

“I hope the sentences handed out today send out a strong message - Staffordshire Police, along with other forces, will not tolerate such crime in our communities and we will take positive action against those involved.”

A further man is due to be sentenced on March 28.

The investigating team from Staffordshire Police linked up with officers from several other Forces after it was established that raids had also taken place at the following locations:

• 21 November 2015 - Fraser Hart, Milton Keynes

• 31 December 2015 - Goldsmiths, Oxford

• 9 February 2016 - Chris Shan Jewellers, Lancashire

• 10 March 2016 - Beaverbrooks, Stoke-on-Trent

• 7 April 2016 - Beaverbrooks, Basingstoke, Hampshire

• 20 June 2016 - Breitling store, Bluewater, Kent

• 26 July 2016 - Ernest Jones, Portsmouth

• 5 August 2016 - Montblanc, Bicester Village, Oxfordshire

• 23 August 2016 - Ernest Jones, Derby

• 25 August 2016 - Fraser Hart, Peterborough

• 7 September 2016 - Poel Jewellers, Stratford-upon-Avon