Trio admit £230,000 armed Glasgow jewellery raid

Argyll Arcade on Glasgow's Buchanan Street. Picture: Craig Stephen
Argyll Arcade on Glasgow's Buchanan Street. Picture: Craig Stephen
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THREE men have admitted carrying out a £230,000 armed robbery at a Glasgow jeweller’s shop with an axe, sledgehammer and a baseball bat.

They were part of a group of five men who also stole almost £20,000 in cash from a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in Edinburgh just days later, the High Court in Glasgow heard.

“Don’t phone the police or we’ll kill you”

Robber’s threat

Jason Yendall, 29, Arran Brannan, 23, and Jason Britton, 23, all from Manchester, pleaded guilty to the armed raids on Rox in Argyll Arcade on September 24 last year and the RBS in Home Street, Edinburgh, on October 2.

Alistair Oliver, 30, and Gordon McLay, 32, both from East Lothian, pleaded guilty to the RBS robbery and to being in possession of some of the stolen watches from Rox and selling them on.

A sixth man was discharged by the court.

In total, 21 watches with a value of £229,601 were stolen in the Rox robbery. The haul included 19 Hublot watches, some worth £23,000 and £19,300.

Advocate Depute Sheena Fraser said none of the watches has been recovered.

The court heard that the first robbery was organised with the three men carrying out a “dry run” the day before to plan their escape.

On the day of the robbery, they drove a stolen Volkswagen Golf and a van through from Edinburgh, parking the van in Castle Street in Glasgow and the car in a lane near Argyll Arcade.

They ran into the shopping centre, which was busy with staff and customers, and entered Rox.

CCTV footage showed them smashing an internal display window and filling a sports bag with watches.

A worker in Rox managed to hit a panic alarm while a staff member in another jewellery shop in the arcade activated a smoke security system which filled the area, the court was told.

As the men ran out of the arcade, some members of the public filmed them on mobile phones. One of the robbers shouted: “I’ll kill youse all.”

They made off in the Golf and abandoned it in Castle Street, where they got into the van and headed back to Edinburgh.

CCTV pictures showed Oliver and McLay in a bookmaker’s shop at the time of the robbery and they were later seen wearing stolen watches.

Just over a week later, all five men took part in a robbery at RBS in Edinburgh.

Receipts found by police showed that Oliver bought four balaclavas and an axe from B&Q before the raid.

They threatened staff in the bank, with one of the men shouting: “Don’t phone the police or we’ll kill you.”

They took £19,569 from cash drawers and escaped in McLay’s car but were caught in Howdenhall Road by police who had the men under surveillance. The advocate depute said that all but £66 of the stolen cash was recovered.

Judge Lord Turnbull called for reports on the men and deferred sentencing until 9 July.