DETECTIVES were today flying to Estonia to bring back a man sought in connection with a terrifying armed robbery four years ago.
The man, who has just ended a jail term in Estonia for drugs offences, was detained under a European arrest warrant over a robbery at Berry’s jewellers in Albion Street, Leeds, on February 13 2007.
West Yorkshire Police officers were flying out to Tallinn and the 31-year-old is due to appear at Leeds Magistrates Court tomorrow.
His detention is the latest arrest by West Yorkshire Police over gun raids on jewellery shops across Britain and Europe by gangs recruited in Estonia over the last six years.
In the February 13 2007 raid an armed gang stormed into Berry’s and escaped with watches estimated to be worth a six-figure sum.
At noon that day two men armed with guns, threatened shop staff while two others smashed display cases with hammers.
Today’s arrest follows the search for the gunman who wore a distinctive jacket during the raid and which is thought to have been recently recovered by police.
There have been a number of raids at Berry’s over recent years, including ones in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and these are believed to have been part of a wider series of raids organised from Estonia.
West Yorkshire was the lead force on the inquiry, headed by Det Insp Lloyd Batley, and has worked closely with the Greater Manchester, North Yorkshire and West Midlands forces.
As well as raids in Britain, the Estonian gangs are also believed to have struck in Finland, Italy and Sweden netting jewellery worth £1m.
Gang members are believed to have taken budget flights to carry out the robberies and then quickly returned to Eastern Europe via air, road or sea.
Five men already jailed at Leeds Crown Court in connection with the Estonian gang raids are: Reigo Janes, sentenced to12 years; Ivo Paern, 10 years; Joonas Jarvsoo, 12 years; Kristo Koiduste, 10 years and Sarik Sander, 11 years.