Gang sentenced after Harpenden robbery

Loveweds Jewellers on the High Street, Harpenden

Loveweds Jewellers on the High Street, Harpenden - Credit: Archant

THREE men from Hertfordshire have been sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to a robbery and kidnap at a Harpenden jewellery store.

The robbers, Jamie Kalaiarasu, Ashley Latimer-Bassill and Daniel Stanley, stole £65,000 worth of rings and Rolex watches during a raid at Loveweds Jewellers in the High Street on Wednesday March 20 this year.

Detectives from the Local Crime Unit in St Albans launched an investigation, codenamed Operation Brad, as a result and the three offenders were arrested in less than a week of the crime being committed.

In St Albans Crown Court last Friday (May 3), Kalaiarasu, aged 22 years old and of Archer Road, Stevenage, and Latimer-Bassill, aged 24 years old, of Crane Mead, Ware, were sentenced to six years in prison.

Stanley, 24, of Travellers Lane in Hatfield, was given a five year jail term.

The court had heard that prior to the robbery Kalaiarasu posed as a customer called “Jay” to ensure the jewellery was in stock before he and the co-defendants kidnapped and robbed the manager.

For Kalaiarasu, Patrick Dorian said his client was genuinely remorseful and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

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Alison Morgan, for Latimer-Basill and Stanley, asked for credit for their guilty pleas at the first opportunity.

Judge Stephen Gullick told the trio that he had “no doubt” that the jewellery shop manager had been terrified by the kidnapping and robbery as he had been alone in the shop and vulnerable.

After the sentencing Detective Sergeant Carolyn Taylder said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for the victim who was held captive by the group while they stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery for their own personal greed.

“It was a pre-planned enterprise however our investigation was fast-moving and some excellent detective work led to three arrests being made within just a few days of the offence taking place.

“This result sends out a clear message that robbery will not be tolerated in Hertfordshire. We hope also that the jewellers’ staff and their families can take some comfort from it.”

There will more information in tomorrow’s Herts Advertiser.