A gang armed with a chain saw carried out a series of robberies at Asian jewellers across West Yorkshire, a court heard.
The balaclava clad raiders carried out smash and grabs at jewellery stores in Wakefield, Batley and Huddersfield.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court heard today (Friday) how the gang of four bundled trays of jewels into builders’ rubble bags and used stolen cars with crudely blackened out windows to make their getaways.
Prosecutor Rob Mairs said: “They targeted Asian Jewellers. They are not the not the high street stores. They are jewellers who deal with the bespoke and word of mouth market rather than passing trade.
“In each robbery a stolen vehicle was used. The windows were blackened, not professionally but rather crudely with black spray paint.
“The offences were carried out by four white males wearing balaclavas and casual sportswear.
“They were carrying weapons: pick axe handles, hammers and on one occasion a chain saw.”
He said entry was gained to the stores by smashing windows and doors.
The court heard the first robbery happened at Sona Jewellers in Blacker Road, Huddersfield on February 25, 2012.
At closing time the raiders arrived in a stolen Land Rover carrying hammers.
And after breaking into the shop, they funnelled the gems into builders’ bags and demanded the owner opened the safe.
Their next raid was at Assad Jewellers in Purlwell Lane, Batley on March 8.
On this occasion they were armed with pieces of wood and a large sword and tried to force their way in by reversing a VW Transporter through the door.
But the owners managed to keep them out. One member of staff suffered a slash to his arm and needed hospital treatment.
And during Grand National Day, Saturday, April 14, the raid involving the chainsaw was carried out at WS Jewellers on Carlton Street, Wakefield.
Standing trial are John Boy Morrison, 40, of Cottingley Springs caravan site, Gildersome, Patrick Lowther, 33, of Castle Lodge Gardens, Rothwell, Steven Barker, 35, of Merchant Court, East Bowling, Bradford, and Garner Smith, 33, of Montrose Street, Bolton Woods, Bradford.
They all deny conspiracy to rob.
Mr Mairs said: “It’s the prosecution’s case that these four defendants committed these robberies and attempted robbery.
“They deny any involvement in any of these.”
The trial continues.