A PRISONER has been convicted of plotting two armed robberies from his jail cell by using illicit mobile phones, The Sun reports. Designer watches worth £637,000 were snatched in raids on Teesside branches of the Market Cross Jewellers in Yarm and Middlesbrough, and the shocking robberies were caught on CCTV.
Eight men from Manchester and Teesside admitted conspiracy to rob after the gang made crucial errors in executing their carefully-laid plans. But Ian Ogden, 27, an inmate of Forest Bank Prison in Salford, denied being involved. He was convicted on Wednesday of two counts of conspiracy to rob following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.
The jury was shown dramatic images of both raids in which display cabinets were smashed, and a handgun was wielded in one robbery. Ogden was almost 150 miles (240km) away in a cell in Liverpool when the smash-and-grab robberies were carried out. But Richard Bennett, prosecuting, told the jury: “Ian Ogden may not have worn a mask or brandished a weapon but he was part of a criminal agreement to rob the two shops.”
The prosecution said he used illicit smuggled phones to link the Manchester and Teesside criminals during the planning and execution of the crimes. Only one watch has been recovered out of the haul of stolen items. Ogden and the other eight men, who admitted the charges, will be sentenced at a two-day hearing on a date to be arranged.