A man part of a violent criminal gang who carried out a number of raids at Asian jewellers – including one in Haringey – has been jailed for ten years.
Romanian national Gheorghita Purice, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to two incidents of conspiracy to rob in September 2012 and February 2013.
The 21-year-old, who will be deported after serving his sentence, was part of a gang that carried out raids across Europe, including six in London and one in Birmingham.
In many cases, a gang member would dress up as a woman to gain access to the stores, before holding the door open for fellow members, many of whom were armed with firearms, stun grenades and sledgehammers.
Prosecutors said the gang caused havoc and distress during the robberies, including one at Sabha Jeweller’s, in Turnpike Lane, Haringey, in September 2012.
The Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad requested the help of European policing agency Europol, who identified Purice, who had been arrested for a similar offence in Belgium and was jailed until December 2013.
On his release in Belgium, officers from the Met Police arrested Purice at Brussels International Airport before escorting him back to the UK for trial.
He pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court on April 11.
Detective Sergeant Andrew McGuire of the Flying Squad said: "Gheorghita Purice is part of a large group of Romanian men who have committed robberies across Europe, often being armed with hammers, firearms and stun grenades.
“Many of the group are now in custody across the continent awaiting sentencing for their part in offences in Italy, France, The Netherlands, Austria and Belgium.
“Without the continued help of the Romanian authorities and Europol it is clear that this dangerous criminal would never have been caught and subsequently convicted."