Robbery gang who targeted jewellers at St Andrews jailed

The robbery took place within Mappin and Webb at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews. Picture: TSPL

The robbery took place within Mappin and Webb at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews. Picture: TSPL

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A CRIME gang have been jailed for a total of 47 years after planning to rob a prestigious jewellers using scooters for a getaway.

The seven-strong mob had targeted the Mappin and Webb store based at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews in March 2015.

Mappin and Webb act as silversmith to the Queen and Prince Charles.

Weapons were bought, a recce was carried out on the shop while two speedy Italian scooters were stolen in preparation of the heist.

But, unknown to the raiders, police had been watching and moved in shortly before they could carry out the crime.

It led to Kevin Mulheron (34), Thomas Slayford (20), Paul Hogwood (56), Peter Attwood (44), Benson Aluko (20), Kai McGinley (18) and Louie Attwood (21) being convicted of conspiracy to rob.

They were remanded in custody after their convictions and had substantial sentences handed to them today at the High Court sitting in Paisley.

The judge dealt with them based on criminal records, ages and parts they played.

Mulheron was the Scottish link to the predominantly London-based gang.

Judge John Morris QC said he was the “Scottish contact” and jailed him for seven and a half years for his part.

Hogwood - who has a number of previous convictions including for similar crimes - was branded a “career criminal” and given the highest sentence of the gang, 10 years.

Peter Atwood, called a “serial criminal and ring leader” was jailed for nine years and Slayford was caged for five and a half years for his part.

Aluko, McGinley and Louie Atwood were handed five years each and told they were part of a conspiracy that would have “brought terror” to their intended victims.

The smash and grab was planned for the designer Mappin and Webb store in upmarket St Andrews.

Peter Attwood together with his son Louie initially joined Mulheron and McGinley to travel to the Fife town in late February last year.

Mulheron had apparently been down south visiting relatives and returned north with the others despite claiming not to know them.

The High Court in Glasgow previously heard, however, that police were already tracking the gang.

Louie Attwood and McGinley were clocked walking around the plush Old Course hotel.

Prosecutors believe the pair were carrying out “reconnaissance” by recording footage on mobile phones of the jewellers.

But, before leaving, Attwood snapped up a £65 jumper at the hotel – apparently for his grandfather.

They later returned south, but the gang – minus Louie Attwood - were back in Scotland just over a week later.

They used the home of Mulheron’s brother in Glasgow’s Govan to finalise their robbery bid.

Before that, Peter Attwood hired a BMW in London while his son bought sledgehammers holdalls, motorcycle helmets, jackets and waterproof trousers.

The jury heard two Piaggio scooters were ferried north having earlier been stolen in London.

They were chosen for being “nippy” and “agile” to get away from a crime scene quickly.

The court was told that on March 3, McGinley bought a knife and cleaver from the then Crocketts hardware store in Glasgow. Mulheron purchased a roll of tape.

Four of the gang were clocked travelling in the BMW. Hogwood and a black male – believed to be Aluko – were thought to be in a Transit van.

The gang later arrived in St Andrews primed to pounce on the jewellers.

But, armed police instead swooped stopping the gang in their tracks. All six were near the hotel.

The jury was told Hogwood later made a telephone call while on remand.

During it, he said: “If they had turned up 10 minutes later, they would have caught us right in the act.”

Mulheron gave evidence during the trial, but insisted he was not aware of any robbery plans.

He claimed he initially only returned to Scotland as he had a key for his brother’s home.

Mulheron admitted being in St Andrews just before police moved in.

However, he said it was because some of the mob were supposed to be “meeting a guy”.

Recalling being held, he went on: “I just remember being dragged out of the motor, guns and all that.

“I was then taken to the police station and interviewed.”

Prosecutor Paul Brown branded his evidence a “charade” and “a load of nonsense”.

But, Mulheron replied: “I have not made anything up.”

After the verdicts, the court was told the gang have racked up a lengthy list of convictions between them.

This included Hogwood and Peter Attwood each guilty of robbery in the past.

Mappin and Webb was once a regular target of smash and grab raiders.

A motorbike gang robbed a branch in Old Bond Street, London in 2010.

Another of the firm’s stores in the city was targeted three times in 2008 – including one where a car was driven through the front doors.

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