Romanian robbery gang who stole £1m lived rough in Romford woods

Iulian Roman, 21, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years for the robbery of two jewellery shops in Turnpike Lane and East Ham.

Iulian Roman, 21, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years for the robbery of two jewellery shops in Turnpike Lane and East Ham. - Credit: Archant

A Romanian gang who carried out a six-month long robbery spree on jewellery shops across London have been jailed for a total of 82 years.

The 10 men lived rough in woods near Gallows Corner, Romford, from where they launched their violent raids.

They stormed seven jewellers, including one in High Road, Seven Kings, emptying display cabinets in minutes, The Old Bailey heard.

In each robbery, a smartly dressed man would gain entry and then hold open the door to allow the others to run in with sledgehammers and bats.

They would make off across nearby railway lines, knowing it was too dangerous for police to chase them, burying their loot in pre-dug holes.


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The gang, who had come to the UK with the intention of robbing large amounts of high-quality gold from Asian jewellers, were caught after police kept watch on their makeshift campsite near the A12.

The 10 all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob in late December 2012 and February 2013, and were sentenced on Thursday of last week.

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Puit Danut Paunescu, 26, got seven years and three months.

Vasile Alexandru Bataraga, 23, got nine years and four months.

Iulian Roman, 21, got nine-and-a-half years.

Ioan Gavrilut, 26, got nine years and four months.

Constantin Daniel Irina, 30, got eight years.

Ovidiu Gabor, 25, got seven years.

Marius Andrei Barbu, 25, got nine years and four months.

Gheorge Macovei, 23, got seven years.

Iulian Culba, 22, got nine years and four months.

Catalin Paise, 19, got six years and nine months.

See all the gang by clicking on our gallery, above right.

The judge ordered that the ten be deported at the end of their prison sentences.

Det Ch Insp Ian Corner, from the Flying Squad, said: “These were violent armed robberies during which innocent members of staff were terrorised and genuinely feared for their lives.

“I hope these convictions demonstrate our commitment to relentlessly pursue those who intend on committing offences such as these.”

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