Men accused of Northampton jewellers ram-raid visited three separate dealers on 'scouting missions', says prosecutor
A father and son charged with plotting an armed robbery on a Northampton town centre jewellers allegedly carried out visits to other towns in search of potential targets.
Elliot Burton, 50, and Connor Burton, 27 - both from Birmingham - are charged with playing an integral role in planning the smash-and-grab attack on Michael Jones Jewellers in December last year.
The "meticulously planned" robbery saw a BMW crash through the glass doors of the store before five armed men barged in and stole handfuls of valuable watches before escaping in a prepared getaway car down Bridge Street.Both men deny conspiring to rob the store as well as plotting to hit another jewellers in Swindon.
But at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (December 4), the jury was shown how, in the weeks before the attack, the two men allegedly carried out trips to other towns to scope them out in search of targets.
The two men were caught on CCTV travelling to towns with authorised Rolex dealerships, glancing through the windows for less than a minute before leaving.
In fact, cell-phone activity reportedly shows how the men would drive for hours from Birmingham - only to visit the stores for scant minutes before driving back again.
It includes a trip to a Lutterworth jewellers on December 7, 2018, which Mr Elliot reportedly drove to from Birmingham before returning without getting out his car.
On December 8, both Burtons reportedly drove to a Rolex dealership in Leicester. They were spotted on CCTV looking through the shop's window for less than minute before leaving.
Then, 90 minutes later, they were spotted on CCTV again - looking through the shop windows of Michael Jones Jewellers in Northampton.
Both men spent several minutes pointing to different items on display - before leaving without entering the shop and driving back to Birmingham.
The Michael Jones dealership was robbed less than a week later.
Prosecutor Mr Andrew Peet says all three trips were "recce" visits to pick a target for robbery by looking at valuables and "how easy" the escape routes would be.
Mr Peet admitted to the jury the evidence was "circumstantial".
He said: "They didn't go in the shops. There was no chats with the staff to say 'I'm interested in that piece, let's do a deal'. Why go inside? You don't need to go inside if you're planning on robbing the place. You just need to know where the goods are."
The two Burtons are also charged with plotting a robbery at the Deacons Jewellers in Swindon in November, which was allegedly foiled on the day of the planned attack when a police officer found the supposed getaway car.
The trial continues.