London

Men jailed for £40m Graff jewellery robbery in London

Clockwise: Aman Kassaye, Solomun Beyene, Clinton Mogg and Thomas Thomas
Image caption The raiders used professional make-up disguises

Four men have been jailed for taking part in the UK's biggest jewellery robbery.

Gems worth £40m were stolen from the Graff store in Mayfair in central London last August.

The mastermind Aman Kassaye, 25, of London, was jailed for a total of 23 years, while the other three men were jailed for 16 years each.

Woolwich Crown Court heard the robbers wore make-up disguises and took a worker hostage during the robbery.

Kassaye, Solomun Beyene, 25, Thomas Thomas, 46, all from London, and Clinton Mogg, 43, from Bournemouth, were found guilty of conspiracy to rob.

Kassaye was also convicted of kidnap and firearms offences.

He used a gun to force shop worker Petra Ehnar to hand over 43 items of jewellery.

She was then abducted to enable the robbers to make their way to their getaway car, the court heard.

Footage showed Kassaye firing a shot in the street outside the store and passers-by running for cover as they realised what was happening.

Sentencing, Judge Jeffrey Pegden said: "The staff were victim of a terrifying ordeal at gunpoint.

"To carry out a robbery in that area where security is extremely high required meticulous planning and a very significant number of conspirators."

Image caption The stolen items have never been recovered

The stolen items have never been found and a £1m reward remains in place for information leading to their recovery.

One diamond necklace alone has been valued at £3.5m.

Police have also issued an appeal to the public to help find a motorcyclist suspected of making off with the loot.

He was passed a black plastic bin bag containing the gems moments after the heist.

Officers scoured hundreds of hours of CCTV in a bid to trace his escape route through central London.

But they lost track of him after he walked into Green Park, a short distance from Buckingham Palace.

The judge told Kassaye, who was jailed for a further two years for kidnap and five years for firearms offences, that the terms would run consecutively.

A fifth man, 27-year-old Craig Calderwood, is to face a retrial at a date to be set.

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