Two men jailed for sledge hammer attack on jewellers - Watford

23/10/2015

Two Romanian men, who carried out a sledge hammer attack on a jeweller's shop in Watford's Harlequin shopping centre, have today, Friday, 23 October 2015, been jailed for seven years each.

The men, Mihai-Alexandru Codreanu, aged 20, and Alexandru Zanoaga, aged 25, were part of a team that targeted the shop in July of this year.

St Albans Crown Court was told that the gang hadn't reckoned on the intuition of a woman shopper who spotted the gang preparing for the attack on the shop. The woman had been walking towards the shopping centre in Queens Road when she saw the five men in track suits with their hoods up loitering in an underpass. Everything about them made her suspicious, said Ann Evans, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). One was on a bike and the other four had what appeared to be a pensioner's shopping trolley with an assortment of bats poking out. Some of the men even had Marigold gloves on.

As the five began walking towards the shopping centre, the woman was certain they were up to no good and something was about to happen. The court heard that she even dialled 999 to alert the police and signalled to security guards about the presence of the five.

It meant that, by the time the gang were in place to attack the shop, the police were on their way. As three men took sledge hammers to the windows of the shop, security guards were already moving towards them.

Realising they were in danger of being caught, the gang fled from the shopping centre and were pursued by police. The two defendants were caught and today they admitted attempted robbery at the shop on the morning of 28 July this year.

Zanoaga, of no fixed address, and Codreanu of Lea Road, Birmingham, had only been in the country six months at the time.

Judge John Plumstead jailed them each for seven years.

He praised the quick thinking of the woman, commending her public spiritedness and directed she be awarded £250 out of public funds.

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