Fife Jewellery Raid Gang Handed Prison Term

1 June 2016, 14:37 | Updated: 1 June 2016, 14:40

A gang who plotted to carry out an "audacious'' armed robbery have been jailed for a combined total of 47 years.

The seven men had planned to raid the Mappin and Webb jewellers at the five-star Old Course Hotel in St Andrews on March 3 last year.

But Police Scotland were tracking them after learning from the Metropolitan Police that they planned to travel north.

Police said the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit launched a major surveillance operation, which monitored the group from the moment they entered Scotland and followed them as they travelled from Glasgow to St Andrews.

Six gang members made their way to the east Fife town in two vehicles - a BMW 5 Series car and a Transit van.

They were detained by officers, and a number of items including weapons, balaclavas, gloves and motor scooters were recovered from the Transit van, while mobile phones and pieces of documentation were seized from the BMW, police said.

A seventh individual was arrested in London shortly after.

At the High Court in Paisley on Wednesday, Paul Hogwood, 56, was sentenced to 10 years, Peter Attwood, 44, was jailed for nine years, Kevin Mulheron, 34, received seven-and-a-half years, and Tommy Slayford, 20, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years.

Louie Attwood, 21, Benson Aluko, 20, and Kai McGinley,17, each received five-year sentences.

Detective Inspector Steven Sandilands, from the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit in Glasgow, said: "This crime group was already known to the Metropolitan Police for a number of smash and grab robberies and as soon as they made us aware of their intent to travel to Scotland, we dedicated significant resources to ensure they were under extensive surveillance from the second they crossed the border.

"I would like to thank our partners at the Met Flying Squad for their vital assistance during this operation and the various Police Scotland departments that played a pivotal role in preventing this planned robbery from occurring.''

Detective Inspector Nick Blackburn, from the Met's Flying Squad, said: "The Met's Flying Squad worked closely across force borders with our colleagues from Police Scotland to bring these individuals to justice.

"I am pleased with today's sentences, which reflect the seriousness of this audacious crime.''

Jennifer Harrower, procurator fiscal for major crime, said: "This organised crime group travelled from London to Scotland with the intention of committing a crime.

"Unknown to them, they were under observation from the outset and thanks to the diligence and resolve of police they were apprehended before they could enact their unscrupulous plans.

"The evidence gathered allowed the Crown to present a strong case to the court which resulted in all seven being convicted.

"This should act as a warning to all criminals that Scotland is well equipped and ready to deal with any who would seek to engage in illegal activities.''