Robbers found guilty of ‘audacious raid’ at Leeds city centre jewellers

TWO men have been found guilty of taking part in an “audacious” ram raid robbery at Leeds city centre jewellers.

Kieran Marshall and John Kitchen were part of a masked gang which used a stolen pick-up truck to smash into Hyman’s Jewellers, on Call Lane.

John Kitchen.

John Kitchen.

READ MORE: The criminals jailed at Leeds Crown Court last month

A jury heard how staff had to run for cover as the truck was reversed into the front of the premises during the daytime raid.

Leeds Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of the incident on October 25, 2017.

One member of the gang ran into the store armed with a sledge hammer and threatened staff after the vehicle was reversed into the building.

Police at the scene.

Police at the scene.

The inside of the shop filled with smoke when alarms were activated.

READ MORE: Leeds city centre street shut after robbers raid jewellery shop and abandon 4x4

Tom Storey, prosecuting, said the raider then “scrabbled around” trying to get his hands on jewellery before leaving.

Footage also showed the driver of the truck grabbing a watch from a window display before fleeing.

Five men then ran to a Ford Focus which was fitted with false number plates.

The vehicle was later found abandoned by police.

The defendants’ DNA was recovered from a door handle and the gear stick.

Kitchen was also found guilty of a further count of robbery over a raid at a travel agents in Rothwell.

The court heard three men wearing balaclavas and armed with a knife, an axe and a baseball bat targeted Thomas Cook.

The men burst into the store on Jail Yard Parade at 9.45am on August 18, 2017.

One of the men jumped onto a counter and demanded money as he threatened a staff member with a knife.

They left with thousands of pounds worth of bank notes but were challenged by members of the public as they tried to leave.

One man picked up a scaffolding pole and used it to smash the window of the gang’s getaway car.

Kitchen’s cap fell off during the struggle. It was later examined by forensic officers and found to contain his DNA.

Kitchen, 28, of Tarnside Drive, Seacroft, and Marshall, 28, of Farm Road, Seacroft, were returned to custody after the jury reached unanimous verdicts after a four-day trial.

The pair will be sentenced in September.