A piece of “absolutely fantastic luck” helped detectives catch a violent gang after police raided a jewellers 15 minutes after stolen goods from a footballer’s house were dropped off at the premises.
Nottinghamshire Police requested a search warrant for Paris Jewels in Hatton Garden, London, after identifying links between the shop and the theft of the Portland Tiara from the Harley Gallery in Nottinghamshire in 2018.
The force executed the warrant on May 2, 2019 – unaware of any links to a tie-up robbery at the home of former Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County midfielder Tom Huddlestone, which had taken place the night before in Caythorpe, Nottinghamshire.
Detective Inspector Gayle Hart, who led the investigation, said officers found a bag of stolen high-value goods under the counter in the shop – which included an FA Cup runners-up medal.
This really was the breakthrough to link all these jobs together
DI Gayle Hart
CCTV footage showed police had entered the address just 15 minutes after the bag had been dropped off.
Speaking about the execution of the warrant, DI Hart said: “The inquiry team went down to London and while we were there we actually identified a jewellers we thought was likely to be involved.
“A short time later we went back to that jewellers, which was Paris Jewels, and executed a search warrant and while there we recovered some stolen property, which we later identified as the majority of the stolen property from the Caythorpe burglary.
“So we recognised that actually that was a burglary in Nottinghamshire, a tie-up robbery, and that the goods had turned up within 12 hours at Paris Jewels.
“So that opened the investigation up really to look at what other burglaries had happened in Nottinghamshire and their movements within London, and we found that there was a significant pattern there.
“That then opened it up around other suspects involved.”
Addressing the good fortune involved in linking the cases together, DI Hart said: “It was a bit of absolutely fantastic luck.
“This really was the breakthrough to link all these jobs together.
“So in terms of the Caythorpe tie-up robbery, that actually occurred on May 1 and the investigation team were currently down in London, so we were planning to execute our warrant on May 2, and indeed that’s what we did.
“We actually went into the jewellery shop just after 11 o’clock that morning, and we’ve since learned that the property from that burglary in Caythorpe had clearly been delivered in the early hours of that morning, immediately after that burglary.
“Then we recovered it in the shop probably only 15 minutes after it had landed in the shop.
“The police then walked through the door and executed the warrant. So some good fortune, definitely.”