UK court gives long jail terms to Estonian watch robbers

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The Leeds Crown Court on Monday handed down long prison sentences to three Estonian men it found guilty of a robbery conspiracy in which high value watches worth approximately 1.3 million euros were stolen at gunpoint in Leeds and in London, Yorkshire Evening Post said.

Estonian nationals Alar Kajurand, 44, and Rainis Kilk, 26, were both sentenced to 18 years and Taimar Uibopuu, 30, was given a 15-year term.

According to the charges, the men conducted a heist at Berry's in Leeds on March 24 this year and at Watches of Switzerland in London a day later. In the Leeds robbery that happened just after 6 p.m. Kajurand was caught on CCTV wearing a wig as he approached the security door before producing a gun as staff and security guard backed away. Watches worth 935,000 pounds were stolen in the Leeds robbery. The court heard 64 of the watches were later recovered but 450,000 pounds worth of watches remain outstanding.

Three members of the public who tackled the robbers as they fled the jewelers in Leeds helped to detain one of the criminals, which led to to the downfall of the rest of the gang.

The robbery at Watches of Switzerland on Oxford Street, London, took place just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 25. Six Cartier watches worth just under 30,000 pounds were stolen in that robbery.

The three members of the public who detained Uibopuu until the arrival of the police, all from Leeds, were each awarded 750 pounds from public funds for their actions. A security guard who intervened in the robbery in London also received the same reward.

During the trial Kajurand told the jury he believed he was taking part in an insurance scam. He claimed he had been beaten up and thought he would be killed if he did not take part. Kajurand said he was beaten up and said threats were made against his relatives in Estonia, the newspaper said.