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Hammers used in raid in bid to get at Rolexes
A masked robber has been jailed for seven and a half years for a terrifying daylight sledgehammer raid on a jeweller’s shop.
Darren Pallas was one of a gang wearing black balaclava masks who tried to smash their way into Rolex watch specialist Lister Horsfall in Ilkley town centre on June 6 last year.
Pallas denied attempted robbery but was convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court yesterday afternoon.
He was already serving a five-year sentence for a similar attack on a jeweller’s shop in Rugby, Warwickshire, three months later. The gang smashed their way in with sledgehammers and got away with thousands of pounds of watches and jewellery.
Pallas, 33, of Cross Green Lane, Cross Green, Leeds, turned to armed robbery last year after spending years behind bars for a string of burglary convictions.
An elderly man was knocked to the ground by the gang as they ran towards Lister Horsfall with their weapons shortly after the shop opened at 10am, the jury heard.
They smashed holes in the reinforced glass in the shop door and display window but fled in a stolen BMW with false registration plates after staff activated the security shutters.
The court was told these were put in place after robbers targeted the shop nine months earlier, getting away with £400,000 of watches and jewellery.
Prosecutor Louise Azmi said the BMW was abandoned on the outskirts of Ilkley after the raid last June. A set of gloves found in the car contained glass fragments from the smashed shop window. DNA on one of the gloves was a match for Pallas.
Shop manager Sam Brown said he heard a loud bang and saw two men in balaclavas hitting the glass door with sledgehammers. He shouted at staff and customers to get downstairs.
The robbers repeatedly struck the glass door and then hit the window up to four times.
“But they seemed to getting tired and losing the will to live,” Mr Brown said.
Sales assistant Emily Ward said glass was flying into the shop. The robbers made holes in the door but not big enough for them to get through.
They failed to get their hands on 70 Rolex watches on display in the window.
Judge Jonathan Rose told Pallas he was a career criminal who turned to armed robbery as a new career path.
“These were two very serious robberies causing very significant fear,” the judge said.