Three jailed for daylight Leeds watches raid
A gang of thieves, who flew into the UK to target a jewellers, were caught after members of the public grabbed one of the men in the street as he fled a robbery.
The three Estonian nationals flew into England intending to rob Berrys Jewellers in Leeds in March.
The gang, Alar Kajurand, 44; Taimar Uibopuu, 30 and Rainis Kilk, 26, tried to steal 150 watches worth £935,000.
All three men were found guilty at Leeds Crown Court and jailed.
The jury heard that Uibopuu was hauled to the ground as he left the jewellers.
Kajurand and Kilk were jailed for 18 years and Uibopuu was given 15 years for the robbery and another attack on a jewellers in London.
There, Kajurand and Kilk, armed with a hammer and handgun stole watches valued at £28,000 from Watches of Switzerland on Oxford Street on 25 February.
During the attack in Leeds Kajurand threatened staff with a handgun, while Kilk and Uibopuu stripped watches from the displays.
But passing people became suspicious and called the police.
As Uibopuu tried to leave the jewellers on Albion Street, he was pinned to the ground until police arrived and then found to have 64 watches worth nearly £500,000 along with a hammer and scarf.
Det Insp Phil Jackson of West Yorkshire Police said: "This was a highly organised criminal gang who had travelled into the country solely to commit high value jewellery robberies.
"What they hadn't bargained on was the very courageous actions of the members of the public who intervened and detained one of the gang at the scene of the Leeds robbery and forced them to leave behind crucial evidence in London.
"While we never encourage members of the public to put themselves at risk, their actions proved absolutely vital in bringing these men to justice."