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Moped robber who was part of gang that used sledgehammers to raid a jewellers jailed for eight years

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Moped robber who was part of a gang that used sledgehammers and knives to raid a jewellers taking £300,000 worth of watches is jailed for eight years - but five of his accomplices remain on the run

  • Jamie Farrell, 31, was among gang of six who robbed Regent Street store in June
  • Men used mopeds and sledgehammers during attack on Watches of Switzerland
  • Farrell fled scene but was chased by members of public and arrested by police
  • He has now pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and possession of an offensive weapon and has been jailed for eight years

By Keiligh Baker for MailOnline

Published: 03:55 EDT, 12 July 2018 | Updated: 04:17 EDT, 12 July 2018

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Jamie Farrell, 31, of Islington, north London, was among a gang of men on mopeds armed with sledgehammers and knives who attacked the Watches of Switzerland store
Jamie Farrell, 31, of Islington, north London, was among a gang of men on mopeds armed with sledgehammers and knives who attacked the Watches of Switzerland store

Jamie Farrell, 31, of Islington, north London, was among a gang of men on mopeds armed with sledgehammers and knives who attacked the Watches of Switzerland store

A moped robber who stole £300,000 worth of luxury watches as part of a gang armed with knives and sledgehammers has been jailed for eight years.

Jamie Farrell, 31, of Islington, north London, was among a gang of six men on three mopeds and a motorbike armed with sledgehammers and knives who attacked the Watches of Switzerland store in Regent Street on June 5 at 10.20am.

The Metropolitan Police, who described it as a 'brazen robbery', are still hunting Farrell's five fellow robbers who escaped from the scene. 

Five display cabinets were attacked and dozens of Rolex watches were stolen in the raid in the busy central London shopping district, but Farrell was arrested after being chased by members of the public as he tried to flee.

He was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London to eight years for conspiracy to rob and two years for possession of the offensive weapon, with all sentences to be served concurrently.

He pleaded guilty to both charges. 

Five display cabinets were attacked and dozens of Rolex watches were stolen in the raid in the busy central London shopping district, but Farrell was arrested after being chased by members of the public as he tried to flee
Five display cabinets were attacked and dozens of Rolex watches were stolen in the raid in the busy central London shopping district, but Farrell was arrested after being chased by members of the public as he tried to flee

Five display cabinets were attacked and dozens of Rolex watches were stolen in the raid in the busy central London shopping district, but Farrell was arrested after being chased by members of the public as he tried to flee

Scotland Yard said one moped was driven through the shop doors, forcing them open and preventing them from being closed by security staff.

Then three men wearing black crash helmets attacked the display cases with sledgehammers, targeting the ones that contained Rolex watches.

LUXURY WATCH SHOP IS A REPEAT VICTIM OF ARMED ROBBERIES

In March the same branch of Watches of Switzerland was attacked by masked moped raiders, with thieves using knives, sledgehammers and a Samurai sword-style blade to break in.

A number of weapons were recovered from the pavement outside, with a picture on Twitter showing a blade resembling a samurai sword lying outside the shop.

Watches of Switzerland also has branch on nearby Oxford Street, which was also raided by moped thugs in April. 

The other three men who stayed outside, including one on a high-powered motorbike, were armed with knives to ward off security staff and members of the public.

The robbers attacked the display cabinets and then set off the internal security smoke alarm before fleeing in different directions but a passing police unit saw what was happening and chased after them.

Farrell was chased and monitored by members of the public before being detained by police officers in Heddon Street.

He was seen to abandon various items including a pair of gloves, a crash helmet and a bag full of 11 Rolex watches as he ran.

Forensic analysis of these watches and the gloves had traces of Farrell's blood, Scotland Yard said. 

Police later recovered a further six Rolex watches from an address in Islington, near to where a moped had been abandoned, in total recovering £309,350 of stolen property belonging to Watches of Switzerland.

After sentencing on Monday, Detective Constable Phelim Redmond, of the Met's Flying Squad, said: 'Farrell was among a group of men who carried out a brazen robbery at a jewellers in the centre of London.

How London's never-ending toll of moped thefts, robberies and attacks keeps rising

The spotlight was thrown on moped crime following a spate of acid attacks and robberies last year, including one attempt to steal the phone of former Chancellor George Osborne.

The apparent impunity with which gangs stole mobile phones, wallets and watches from victims led to police vowing a crackdown on the crimes.

But a steady stream of shocking offences has continued into this year, with every region of the capital being affected by the crime plague.

The map below shows just some of the attacks reported so far in 2018. 

1. January 10 - Moped thieves carrying knives rob a Tesco Express in Belsize Road, Swiss Cottage before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash.

2. January 24 - Two moped riding thieves spend an entire day robbing people in Cambridge Heath Road and Mile End Road, Tower Hamlets.

3. January 29 - Members of the public, including an 80-year-old grandmother, intervene when would-be robbers attempt to steal the moped of a man in Crouch End.

4. February 4 - Man is stabbed after he fought back against moped robbers in Oxford Street.

5. March 7 - Investment banker tackled moped thief to the ground after hearing him breaking into his car outside his apartment in Beaufort Street, Chelsea.

6. March 18 - Moped gang armed with sledgehammers and knives attack watch shop in Regent Street.

7. March 21 - Simon Jordan, the chairman of Crystal Palace Football Club, is robbed of his £100,000 watch by moped thieves in Sumner Road, Croydon.

8. March 22 - Gang armed with angle grinder attempt to steal £100,000 BBC cameras set up on Putney Bridge and Barnes Bridge to record the University Boat Race.

9. April 5 - Delivery driver is dragged from his moped and stabbed during a brutal attack in Ronnie Lane, Manor Park. Group of teenagers make off with his bike.

10. April 7 - Moped gang armed with metal bars break into shop on Oxford Street before stealing luxury watches.

11. April 19 - Two men on a motorbike armed with a machete confront 17-year-old on Marlborough Road, Sutton and steal his moped.

12. May 2 - Five masked youths demanded mobile phones and money from boys in Albert Road Recreation Ground, Muswell Hill.

13. May 10 - Masked youths on three mopeds drove at parents on the school-run in The Avenue, Muswell Hill in attempt to rob them.

14. May 11 - Courier is forced to fight off two would-be motorbike thieves after they attacked him in a side street in Shepherd's Bush.

15. June 4 - Comedian Michael McIntyre is robbed of his watch as he sits in his car in Golders Green.

16. June 5 - Members of the public intervene to tackle gang of robbers raiding a watch shop on Regent Street.

'I would like to thank the members of the public who helped identify Farrell and the items of clothing and stolen goods he had discarded as he fled the scene.

'Officers have recovered 17 out of the 29 watches stolen, worth more than £300,000. However, the damage to the store, including the cabinets destroyed is estimated to be in the region of £100,000.

'The Met is committed to disrupting and detaining anyone involved in moped crimes. The investigation is still ongoing in this case to identify and arrest the other five men involved in this crime.'  

New figures obtained by MailOnline from the Metropolitan Police revealed there were 22,025 powered two-wheel vehicle crimes in London between June 2017 and May 2018, which works out as just over 60 per day. In the previous 12 months, there were 14,699 crimes a year, or 40 per day. 

How moped crimes are rising in London with 60 robberies a day

Sitey Mairuf (pictured) was jailed along with three others for a series of robberies
Sitey Mairuf (pictured) was jailed along with three others for a series of robberies

Sitey Mairuf (pictured) was jailed along with three others for a series of robberies

In the past 12 months, moped gangs carried out 60 robberies a day across London and are known to have been holding training sessions on how to snatch phone before they hit the streets. 

Figures obtained by MailOnline from the Metropolitan Police revealed there were 22,025 powered two-wheel vehicle crimes in London between June 2017 and May 2018, which works out as just over 60 per day.

In the previous 12 months, there were 14,699 crimes a year, or 40 per day. 

In May 2018, there were 1,154 scooter crimes alone - down from 1,206 in April.

There were 4,842 scooter crimes in February 2018 to May 2018, a reduction from 7,874 crimes between October 2017 to January 2018. 

Up to 50,000 offences a year are being committed by thieves on scooters and mopeds in the capital, while some teenage thieves are being arrested up to 80 times but not sent to jail.

Most of the muggings are committed by gangs on stolen vehicles and officers have seen a spike in moped thefts which has rocketed by 41 per cent in the last 12 months to February 2018.

In December, a gang of knife-wielding moped robbers led by a talented teenage singer was locked up for more than 13 years.

Sitey Mairuf and three other teenagers muggers wore skull masks while targeting South London commuters on their way to work between December 2016 and March this year.

They stole six scooters as well as laptops and phones from their victims - which included a police officer - in Victoria, Mitcham, Herne Hill, Kennington and Camberwell.

Now police are warning it is dangerous to get your phone out in public and they are advising pedestrians to use hands free headsets instead to deter criminals.

Scotland Yard superintendent Mark Payne claimed that moped muggers are snatching 20 phones an hour.

The robbers, who usually operate with a pillion passenger, are capable of recognising a mobile phone in a target's pocket from 100 feet away. 

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