Ipswich: Robert Gatward’s jewellery store raid could have a link to London crime gang

Robert Gatward robbery

Robert Gatward robbery - Credit: Archant

Detectives investigating an attempted smash and grab at an Ipswich jewellers are investigating the possibility the raiders could be linked to a London gang.

Officers are liaising with colleagues in the Metropolitan Police in a bid to catch the axe-wielding robbers who carried out the botched raid on Robert Gatward’s in the Buttermarket on Monday last week.

The attempted robbery bore striking similarities with two raids in Suffolk in 2011, linked to an organised crime gang dubbed Fagin’s Kitchen.

The nickname arose after young men from the London area, recruited by more senior criminals, began using stolen motorbikes to carry out robberies at jewellery stores in 2005.

Over the past eight years they have struck in high-class jewellers in various towns and cities including 2011 raids at Thurlow Champness in Bury St Edmunds and Goldsmiths in Tavern Street, Ipswich, which virtually backs on to Robert Gatward.

The series of raids since 2005 bear a striking similarity. The robbers are all young and target top-of-the-range jewellery shops. They carry axes, hammers and knives.

After riding off they dump their motorcycles before transferring to other vehicles.

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Last year several young men from the London area were given long jail terms by Ipswich Crown Court for their parts in the Thurlow Champness and Goldsmiths raids.

Mopeds used in last week’s attempt on Robert Gatward were found abandoned in Dillwyn Street, Ipswich. They had previously been stolen from the London area.

The discovery occurred following the foiled raid at 4.50pm on Monday when four people on the Vespas tried to smash a front window at the shop in the Buttermarket.

Two knives were also recovered at the scene.

Yesterday Richard Jones, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Suffolk police are fully investigating all aspects of the recent attempted robbery at the jewellery shop in Ipswich.

“This will include contacting other relevant forces to see if there are any links between this crime and other similar crimes.“