'Meticulous' plot to ram-raid Northampton town centre jewellers spelled out in court as two men stand trial
A jury has heard how a sophisticated ram-raid robbery on a Northampton town centre jewellers last year was "planned to the last detail."
A trial has begun over the violent crash-and-grab robbery that hit Michael Jones Jewellers in December last year.
The shocking attack was witnessed by dozens of eyewitnesses who could only watch as a BMW rammed into the luxury shop on Gold Street before five armed men piled in to steal fistfuls of Rolex watches.
But today (December 4), a father and son - Elliot Burton, 50, and Connor Burton, 27, both from Birmingham - are now standing trial at Northampton Crown Court for allegedly helping to plot the "meticulously planned" robbery.
The pair are also charged with conspiring to target another Rolex dealership just two weeks before - a plan that was only allegedly foiled on the day because police discovered the getaway car just hours before the attack.
Both men deny the charge of conspiring to rob either jewellers.
In his opening speech to the jury today, prosecutor Mr Andrew Peet said the attack on Michael Jones Jewellers was "sophisticated" and was built up to with scouting trips and "practice" runs by the getaway driver.
Mr Peet said: "These are plans to commit serious robberies using weapons. They were meticulously planned and researched involving a number of people, effectively a gang, using stolen vehicles bearing false plates with a number of reconnaissance journeys to check out the premises."
CCTV from inside the jewellers played to the jury today showed the extent of the frightening attack.
At around 10.40am on December 14, 2018, staff were sat at their desks inside the store when, outside, a white BMW Series One can be seen mounting the pavement.
The car then reverses to line up with the store, revs it engines and then crashes into the glass front doors.
Frightened staff were shown running in fear to get away from the car, and one woman was seen to press the panic button under a desk.
But this car was just the battering ram. Because at the exact same time, a blue Hyundai i38 pulled up on the pavement outside the jewellers.
From this car, five masked men armed with sledgehammers, an axe and a machete pour into the store as panicked staff hid behind the shop counter.
The men headed straight for the displays and begin to grab valuables - focusing especially on Rolex watches.
The CCTV was then blocked as a smoke screen device inside the shop was activated, filling the store with thick smoke.
More footage from outside showed how the five men then abandoned the BMW and piled into the blue Hyundai, before speeding down Bridge Street on the pavement. Pedestrians had to jump out the way of the escaping criminals.
The five men then escaped to Auctioneers Court, Far Cotton, where they set fire to the blue Hyundai and got into a second prepared escape vehicle, a white Range Rover Evoque.
But even then, the robbers then drove to Buckingham University, where they again climbed into yet another escape car and torched the Range Rover before they left.
All the cars used in the attack were stolen in the weeks leading up to the robbery.
Mr Peet alleges the two Burtons played a major role in the meticulously planned attack, and says Elliot Burton has an "express interest" in buying and selling high-end watches.
Rolex watches were found at Mr Burton Snr's house after he was arrested.
Elliot Burton's DNA was also found on an axe recovered from one of the burnt-out cars.
The trial continues.