Cousins jailed for Newton Mearns jewellery shop raid

TWO cousins who escaped with a £400,000 haul of valuable watches after bringing 33 seconds of terror to a jewellers' shop have been locked up for a total of 14 years.

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An earlier trial saw video footage of the lead-up to the raid in Newton Mearns, Glasgow, when masked raiders armed with hammers and a machete smashed display cases.

The robbers left behind jewellery worth thousands of pounds - which might have proved easier to sell than the Rolex watches, which all have readily traceable serial numbers.

Cousins Alan Mitchell, 34, from Cambuslang and Gary Mitchell, 20, from Shettleston, Glasgow, denied the assault and robbery in Eric N Smith's shop in Ayr Road on April 13 but a jury found them guilty.

A third raider is still at large.

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Alan Mitchell was jailed for eight years.

Judge Lord Jones noted that his criminal record includes convictions for the use of weapons - among them a five and a half year sentence for using a firearm during a bank robbery.

Gary Mitchell was sentenced to six years detention.

Lord Jones told them: "This must have been a terrifying experience and the raid was carefully planned."

The trial heard that the raiders were in the shop for only 33 seconds. But during that time they caused damage estimated at more than £210,000.

Eric Smith and his wife, Yvonne, were threatened with a machete by one of the masked and gloved robbers who stood guard while the other two smashed their way into a display case with hammers.

The door of the shop was propped open with a lump of concrete, which security cameras showed in the hands of one of the men as the three walked towards the shop.

Mrs Smith, 52, told the trial how the peace of a normal Saturday was shattered.

"The first thing I was aware of was a really loud bang," she said. "It was like a gun going off."

In court she said she thought Gary Mitchell was the man with the machete who kept yelling: "Get back, get back."

Afterwards passers by chased the robbers getaway car and noted the registration number.

Today, defence QC Gordon Jackson said father-of-three Alan Mitchell, who did not give evidence at the trial, was maintaining his silence and his denial that he had participated in the raid.

Solicitor advocate John Carroll, for Gary Mitchell, said he had been trying to turn his life around.

"It is clear that those efforts have been fruitless," said Lord Jones.

The judge also made an order extending the time Alan Mitchell will remain on licence by two years.

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