Hatton Garden jeweller, 71, jailed for involvement in London smash and grab

Yair Cohen

Yair Cohen - Credit: Archant

Seven men, including a 71-year-old Hatton garden jeweller, have been jailed for 64 years for their varying involvement in 10 smash and grab raids across London’s luxury stores.

Smash and grab watches

Smash and grab watches - Credit: Archant

Pensioner Yair Cohen of Walnut Court, in Woodmill Road, was jailed for six years for his part in the crime, which saw thieves dressed in burkas escape with more than £1million worth of watches from Selfridges.

The court heard how Cohen’s associate, Reece Dunford, 31, of Osprey Road, Waltham Abbey, had enlisted Cohen to sell on the watches in 2013, which he had bought at a discount.

The court heard how Dunford played a role in all the robberies at high-end shops in the West End, sometimes carrying out the raids or handling stolen goods.

Both men were arrested by Met Flying Squad detectives just hours after another robbery coordinated by Dunford at Mappin and Webb in the City on April 28 2014.

Dunford handpicked a team of robbers and at around 10.30am, gang leader Vincent Kamara, 28, of Ensleight Street, Camden, Boz Burbridge, 31, of Calthorpe Street, Camden, David Mays, 33, of Chessington Avenue, Bexleyheath, and Danny St Luce, 29, of Sebbon Street, Islington, drove up to the luxury jewellery store on two motorcycles.

They used one of the bikes to burst through the doors and two of the men - believed to be Burbridge and Mays - ran inside, still wearing their motorcycle helmets and armed with sledgehammers and an axe.

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A third man, believed to be St Luce - waited outside.

They threatened terrified members of staff before Kamara directed Burbridge and Mays towards the shop displays with the most valuable watches.

They smashed through the glass cabinets and made off with over £300,000 of Rolex watches.

The watches were dropped off at a house linked to the gang in Islington but less than three hours later, detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad swooped on the address.

In the living room they caught Dunford and Cohen red-handed, surrounded by the stolen watches with price tags still attached. Today, Dunford was jailed for 12 years for conspiring to rob Mappin and Webb; conspiring to burgle Goldsmiths in Colchester and Alexander McQueen; conspiring to produce Class B drugs; and conspiring to handle stolen goods from Pauric Sweeney, Selfridges, Prada, Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel, Watches of Switzerland, Mappin and Webb and Jimmy Choo.

Kamara was jailed for 12 years for conspiring to commit robbery at Mappin and Webb.

For conspiring to rob Mappin and Webb, Mays was jailed for eight years; St Luce was jailed for seven years and Burbridge was jailed for seven years.

Patrick Spencer O’Brien, 23 (03.06.92) of Arlington Square, Islington was jailed for 12 years for conspiring to commit robbery at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel.

The sentencing of Dunford’s girlfriend Hollie Dowding, 25, of Osprey Road, Waltham Abbey and Rusudan Kritcheli, 49 also of Walnut Court, in Woodmill Road, Clapton, for their part in the smash and grabs, has been adjourned to 19 August.