A chainsaw wielding gang who carried out robberies at Asian jewellers across West Yorkshire have been jailed for a total of 57 years.
The gang of four attacked back street jewellers in Wakefield, Batley and Huddersfield in 2012 and made off with an estimated £250,000.
Leeds Crown Court heard how the raid on WS Jewellers in Carlton Street, Wakefield involved a masked robber brandishing a running chainsaw to frighten people off.
Prosecutor Rob Mairs said the gang first struck at Sona Jewellers in Blacker Road, Huddersfield on February 25, 2012 where they bundled the gems into builders’ bags.
Their next raid was at Assad Jewellers in Purlwell Lane, Batley on March 8. They were armed with pieces of wood and a large knife. They tried to force their way in by reversing a VW Transporter through the door.
The owners managed to keep them out but one member of staff suffered a slash to his arm and needed hospital treatment.
In the final raid they stole they stole £150,000 worth of jewellery and £4,000 cash from WS Jewellers, in Wakefield in April 2012.
But a “painstaking” investigation led to the arrest of four men: Patrick Lowther, 33, of Castle Gardens, Rothwell, John Boy Morrison, 40, of Cottingley Springs caravan site, Gildersome, Steven Barker, 35, of Merchant Court, East Bowling, Bradford, and Garner Smith, 33, of Montrose Street, Bolton Woods, Bradford.
All four defendants denied conspiracy to rob but were convicted after a three-week trial.
Lowther, Barker, and Smith were all jailed for 16 years today (Tuesday). Morrison, who was deemed to be less involved, was jailed for nine years.
See this week’s paper for the full story and pictures.