'Smash and burn' Romanian gang jailed

Claudiu-Eugen Cretu

Costica Ferestrauaru

Dimitri Spataru

Emanoil Cretu

Gheorghe Rusu

Mihai Cuptor

First published in News
Last updated

EIGHT men have been jailed for a £2m jewellery heist in which they set fire to barricades and a polce car.

The Romanian nationals, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court today to aggravated burglary today in plundering the Ernest Jones jewellery store, Lakeside, in the early hours of April 12.

Emanoil Cretu, 26, Mihai Cuptor, 20, Claudiu-Eugen Cretu, 22, Gheorghe Rusu, 21, Ion-Alexandru Cuptor, 22, Costica Ferestrauaru, 21, Ovidiu Cretu, 18, and Dimitri Spataru, 24, were each immediately sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

After taking jewellery and high-value watches by Cartier, Breitling and Tag Heuer, they fled on foot with their haul and set fire to a number of road blocks made from tyres in an apparent attempt to distract or impede the police response.

A parked police car was also set on fire with a petrol bomb but they were foiled by a tracking police dog and handler who followed their trail up an embankment and along the railway to South Ockendon where all eight were arrested.

Officers obtained further evidence when a member of the public handed in a holdall containing jewellery worth around £500,000 stolen from the Lakeside store The bag was found in a garden at South Ockendon on Sunday May 18.

Det Ch Insp Stuart Smith, who led the investigation, said: "This was a well-planned and highly-organised attack on an iconic site in the South East of England.

“The use of burning barricades and setting fire to a parked police vehicle, unprecedented in Essex, were intended to hinder the police response and intimidate officers attending.

"Not only did officers attend the incident immediately the response was so well co-ordinated that the very confusing dynamics were quickly assessed and a search commenced.

"An excellent response by force assets led to dog handler Pc Mick Finch and his dog Cody finding the direction that the suspects made off in and he commenced the pursuit down the railway lines to South Ockendon with mobile units being moved ahead of him in order to cut off the fleeing suspects.

"Whilst in full flight the suspects went down streets and across gardens in order to escape the pursuing officers. However the residents of Ockendon assisted us greatly by not only calling us in relation to the disturbances but also by checking their gardens for suspects and property.

"Local officers, with the assistance of county resources and the police helicopter, managed to capture all the suspects and recover a large amount of property due to their assistance.

"A few weeks later, a local resident found in his garden a bag which contained the remaining jewellery that had been stolen.

“This was a fantastic act and that individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, truly showed great public spirit and honesty.

"Essex Police has a dedicated CID team overnight led by a Detective Inspector and they co-ordinated the initial investigative response and evidential capture.

“They were soon supported by officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate who took over the investigation.

"This was a complex investigation for investigators and crime scene officers due to the number of scenes and suspects arrested.

“This is the type of serious and fast-moving incident that the SCD was created to deal with and within 36 hours the full evidential picture had been captured.

"Then, with the support of our colleagues in the CPS, all eight men were charged and remanded into custody.

"National borders no longer stop criminals from committing crimes internationally and in the same way as British criminals commit crime on the continent here we had Romanian criminals committing crime in Essex.

“The assistance of law enforcement agencies in Romania cannot be over emphasised as these subjects were already of interest to law enforcement in their home countries.

"Whether they are European criminals or home-grown, I hope that the hugely professional and co-ordinated response of Essex police and the Serious Crime Directorate together with the sentences handed out will show similar like-minded criminals that committing serious crime in Essex and Kent can only end one way.”

Comments (11)

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8:20pm Thu 17 Jul 14

ThurrockResident says...

Why are Romanian immigrants allowed in this country when they have no homes or jobs to go to?
Why are Romanian immigrants allowed in this country when they have no homes or jobs to go to? ThurrockResident
  • Score: 29

10:05am Fri 18 Jul 14

woodsider says...

I note the comment "The assistance of law enforcement agencies in Romania cannot be over emphasised as these subjects were already of interest to law enforcement in their home countries." Surely the freedom of movement of people across the EU should at least be restricted when they criminals move cross border. There seems to be no reasonable checls in place to prevent people being watched by their local police going abroad to commit crime.
I note the comment "The assistance of law enforcement agencies in Romania cannot be over emphasised as these subjects were already of interest to law enforcement in their home countries." Surely the freedom of movement of people across the EU should at least be restricted when they criminals move cross border. There seems to be no reasonable checls in place to prevent people being watched by their local police going abroad to commit crime. woodsider
  • Score: 21

10:28am Fri 18 Jul 14

OckendonPaul says...

Inspector Stuart Smith (PC in both meanings of the phrase) heads off the above comments by saying "and in the same way as British criminals commit crime on the continent here we had Romanian criminals committing crime in Essex. "
Perhaps he'd like to give an example of an identical crime being carried out in Romania (or anywhere on the continent) by Brits? No, I thought not.
Stop trying to pretend the immigrant crime wave is somehow part of a reciprocal arrangement within the EU.
And remember folks, they're only doing the jobs us English won't do!
Inspector Stuart Smith (PC in both meanings of the phrase) heads off the above comments by saying "and in the same way as British criminals commit crime on the continent here we had Romanian criminals committing crime in Essex. " Perhaps he'd like to give an example of an identical crime being carried out in Romania (or anywhere on the continent) by Brits? No, I thought not. Stop trying to pretend the immigrant crime wave is somehow part of a reciprocal arrangement within the EU. And remember folks, they're only doing the jobs us English won't do! OckendonPaul
  • Score: 16

10:45am Fri 18 Jul 14

Sugarman says...

If these people have committed crimes in their own countries then they shouldn't be able to move anywhere else, or at least have shown to be of good character and out of trouble for at least 10 years.
If these people have committed crimes in their own countries then they shouldn't be able to move anywhere else, or at least have shown to be of good character and out of trouble for at least 10 years. Sugarman
  • Score: 18

4:27pm Fri 18 Jul 14

pembury53 says...

OckendonPaul wrote:
Inspector Stuart Smith (PC in both meanings of the phrase) heads off the above comments by saying "and in the same way as British criminals commit crime on the continent here we had Romanian criminals committing crime in Essex. "
Perhaps he'd like to give an example of an identical crime being carried out in Romania (or anywhere on the continent) by Brits? No, I thought not.
Stop trying to pretend the immigrant crime wave is somehow part of a reciprocal arrangement within the EU.
And remember folks, they're only doing the jobs us English won't do!
quite right, ockendonpaul, spot on with that...... and they're all at it, desperate to convince us of the joys of mass immigration, the BBC earlier this week chipped in with "too many immigrants ?" possibly the most contrived, irrelevant and biased piece of program making i have ever seen, even by their standards.....
[quote][p][bold]OckendonPaul[/bold] wrote: Inspector Stuart Smith (PC in both meanings of the phrase) heads off the above comments by saying "and in the same way as British criminals commit crime on the continent here we had Romanian criminals committing crime in Essex. " Perhaps he'd like to give an example of an identical crime being carried out in Romania (or anywhere on the continent) by Brits? No, I thought not. Stop trying to pretend the immigrant crime wave is somehow part of a reciprocal arrangement within the EU. And remember folks, they're only doing the jobs us English won't do![/p][/quote]quite right, ockendonpaul, spot on with that...... and they're all at it, desperate to convince us of the joys of mass immigration, the BBC earlier this week chipped in with "too many immigrants ?" possibly the most contrived, irrelevant and biased piece of program making i have ever seen, even by their standards..... pembury53
  • Score: 7

7:26pm Fri 18 Jul 14

John Right says...

ThurrockResident wrote:
Why are Romanian immigrants allowed in this country when they have no homes or jobs to go to?
Why ? are you really that thick, they happen to be in the EU.. d1ckhead.
[quote][p][bold]ThurrockResident[/bold] wrote: Why are Romanian immigrants allowed in this country when they have no homes or jobs to go to?[/p][/quote]Why ? are you really that thick, they happen to be in the EU.. d1ckhead. John Right
  • Score: -6

8:20am Sat 19 Jul 14

ebagumtrebor says...

They'll leave prison, most likely be offered accommodation and full benefits for the rest of their lives. It's a dream come true for the metro socialists. Not only do we get to keep scumbag foreign criminals at the expense of the taxpayer for the rest of their lives, the metro socialists can show us all how self righteous they are by telling us they're going to reform these criminal types into upstanding citizens, forgetting the fact that, as usual, they'll do nothing but take taxpayers money and sit back and watch the fallout.

The police now acting as the mouthpiece of the liberal left on criminal immigrants. This country is now little more than a repository for failed Eastern European states to dump their unwanted masses and reap the rewards through all the money they send back home from our endless pot of welfare benefits.
They'll leave prison, most likely be offered accommodation and full benefits for the rest of their lives. It's a dream come true for the metro socialists. Not only do we get to keep scumbag foreign criminals at the expense of the taxpayer for the rest of their lives, the metro socialists can show us all how self righteous they are by telling us they're going to reform these criminal types into upstanding citizens, forgetting the fact that, as usual, they'll do nothing but take taxpayers money and sit back and watch the fallout. The police now acting as the mouthpiece of the liberal left on criminal immigrants. This country is now little more than a repository for failed Eastern European states to dump their unwanted masses and reap the rewards through all the money they send back home from our endless pot of welfare benefits. ebagumtrebor
  • Score: 3

10:39am Mon 21 Jul 14

OckendonPaul says...

Sugarman wrote:
If these people have committed crimes in their own countries then they shouldn't be able to move anywhere else, or at least have shown to be of good character and out of trouble for at least 10 years.
Yes it's strange how 'human rights' laws doesn't stop us preventing suspected hooligans from travelling to the world cup, but does stop us from keeping the scum of the world out of our country...
[quote][p][bold]Sugarman[/bold] wrote: If these people have committed crimes in their own countries then they shouldn't be able to move anywhere else, or at least have shown to be of good character and out of trouble for at least 10 years.[/p][/quote]Yes it's strange how 'human rights' laws doesn't stop us preventing suspected hooligans from travelling to the world cup, but does stop us from keeping the scum of the world out of our country... OckendonPaul
  • Score: 3

10:44am Mon 21 Jul 14

OckendonPaul says...

pembury53 wrote:
OckendonPaul wrote: Inspector Stuart Smith (PC in both meanings of the phrase) heads off the above comments by saying "and in the same way as British criminals commit crime on the continent here we had Romanian criminals committing crime in Essex. " Perhaps he'd like to give an example of an identical crime being carried out in Romania (or anywhere on the continent) by Brits? No, I thought not. Stop trying to pretend the immigrant crime wave is somehow part of a reciprocal arrangement within the EU. And remember folks, they're only doing the jobs us English won't do!
quite right, ockendonpaul, spot on with that...... and they're all at it, desperate to convince us of the joys of mass immigration, the BBC earlier this week chipped in with "too many immigrants ?" possibly the most contrived, irrelevant and biased piece of program making i have ever seen, even by their standards.....
Blimey pembury53, surely you must know by now that if the BBC ask a question like "Too many immigrants?", the answer will always, ALWAYS be "No" :-)
[quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]OckendonPaul[/bold] wrote: Inspector Stuart Smith (PC in both meanings of the phrase) heads off the above comments by saying "and in the same way as British criminals commit crime on the continent here we had Romanian criminals committing crime in Essex. " Perhaps he'd like to give an example of an identical crime being carried out in Romania (or anywhere on the continent) by Brits? No, I thought not. Stop trying to pretend the immigrant crime wave is somehow part of a reciprocal arrangement within the EU. And remember folks, they're only doing the jobs us English won't do![/p][/quote]quite right, ockendonpaul, spot on with that...... and they're all at it, desperate to convince us of the joys of mass immigration, the BBC earlier this week chipped in with "too many immigrants ?" possibly the most contrived, irrelevant and biased piece of program making i have ever seen, even by their standards.....[/p][/quote]Blimey pembury53, surely you must know by now that if the BBC ask a question like "Too many immigrants?", the answer will always, ALWAYS be "No" :-) OckendonPaul
  • Score: 4

8:30am Wed 23 Jul 14

Drunken Master says...

Farage was right about not wanting Romanians living next door to you. I don't want them living in the Country let alone next door to me. They are thieving scum.
Farage was right about not wanting Romanians living next door to you. I don't want them living in the Country let alone next door to me. They are thieving scum. Drunken Master
  • Score: 1

11:37am Wed 23 Jul 14

Mattster says...

John Right wrote:
ThurrockResident wrote:
Why are Romanian immigrants allowed in this country when they have no homes or jobs to go to?
Why ? are you really that thick, they happen to be in the EU.. d1ckhead.
You should be called John Thomas, far more appropriate.
[quote][p][bold]John Right[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ThurrockResident[/bold] wrote: Why are Romanian immigrants allowed in this country when they have no homes or jobs to go to?[/p][/quote]Why ? are you really that thick, they happen to be in the EU.. d1ckhead.[/p][/quote]You should be called John Thomas, far more appropriate. Mattster
  • Score: 2

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