Bungling robbers jailed for jewellery raid
A BUNGLING gang from north Essex who targeted an upmarket jewellers have been sent to prison for more than seven years.
The four men were sent down at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday following a robbery at Frocks n Rocks in Frinton in February this year.
In sentencing them, Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said they “were not very good criminals” and should pursue a more honest career.
James Lang, 19, of Colchester, put on a balaclava before vaulting the counter at the Connaught Avenue store and threatening the manager Zoe Collins and another worker before he made off with more than �80,000 of ornate jewellery in a Tesco ‘bag for life’.
Lang was with a balaclava-clad associate who stood guard although he has not been brought to justice after the robbery.
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Lang made off with various ornate rings, bracelets and a Cartier gold watch leaving Mrs Collins, another member of staff and a customer “very shaken up and upset”.
Katrina Jamieson, prosecuting, said later the same day Lang, along with Keilan Buabeng, 21, and Ashley Gibson, went to Hosh jewellers in Colchester where they agreed to sell various items of jewellery for �2,000 cash claiming they had belonged to Gibson’s late grandmother.
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Gibson, 19, of Loughton, then used his passport to prove who he was before providing his name and address to the shop.
Shortly afterwards, police arrived and asked whether anyone had tried selling jewellery and the owner was able to point out the men who were still stood across the road at a phone box.
Lang and Buabeng, of Downside Close, Ipswich, were arrested and Gibson was spotted later on by an off-duty police officer who arrested him along with Danny Turner, 24, of Mersea Road, Colchester.
Turner was released on bail but at a Colchester Magistrates’ Court hearing two days later he was overheard telling Gibson, who was inside a prison van, he would sell some of the jewellery, saying, ‘I will get you the best price mate and I will get it today’.
Turner was stopped the following day in Colchester and was found with a claw ring and expensive watch which were traced back to the shop which is owned by former Ipswich jeweller Percy Ambrose, the grandfather of The Apprentice winner, Simon Ambrose.
Lang pleaded guilty to robbery at an earlier hearing, whilst the other three all admitted handling stolen goods.
The court heard that all of the men had long lists of previous convictions with Buabeng in breach of bail when he was arrested and Turner was serving a suspended sentence at the time.
Michael Cousens, for Lang, said: “It was a somewhat amateurish offence. “It can’t be described as a sophisticated robbery, or anything of that sort.”
And Samantha Leigh, for Buabeng, said her client told her: “I don’t have any sympathy for myself. It was a stupid thing to do and I must pay the price for that.”
The court heard that Judge Goldstaub QC, said: “After their efforts in this case, they may well realise they are not very good criminals and pursue a more honest career.”
And sentencing Lang to three-and-a-half years in a young offenders’ institution, he said: “The time has come for you to appreciate that if you do adult crime, you will do adult time.”
Turner was sentenced to 18 months for handling stolen goods and two more months for the breach of a suspended sentence.
Buabeng was sentenced to a year in jail and Gibson was sent to a young offenders’ unit for 16 months.
Speaking afterwards Mrs Collins thanked the police for their actions, but said she had been left shocked by the raid.
“I am really pleased with the result – they probably won’t serve that length of time – but hopefully it will teach them a lesson but it does not surprise me that they were caught so quickly.
“You do feel quite violated and at your place of work where you are supposed to feel safe and these people think they can come in and take what they want.”