7 jailed for planned heist on Old Course Hotel

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams August 9, 2016 16:16

Seven men have been jailed for a total of 47 years for planning a unique raid on the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews which would have had ‘huge implications’ for golf if they had been successful.

Police Scotland claim the seven London-based robbers – who were planning a heist on jewellers Mappin & Webb at the hotel – looked to Scotland because they believed it was an easier target after a crackdown on ‘smash and grab’ robberies in their home city.

04-09 karen miller old course hotel

Flickr / Karen Miller

According to The Herald, after a lengthy surveillance operation in 2015, the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit swooped on the gang just a mile away from the hotel as they prepared to set off for the raid on scooters, armed with sledge hammers, a meat cleaver and a machete.

“Had they succeeded, the robbery would have been the first of its kind in Scotland and police believe it could have led to a string of copycat crimes. Officers claim it would also have had “huge” implications for the golf course which was due to host the Open Championship just months later,” reports the paper.

Gang member Kevin Mulhern, 34, originally from Glasgow, provided the Scottish link for his fellow gang members Thomas Slayford, 20, Paul Hogwood, 56, Peter Attwood, 44, Benson Aluko, 20, Kai McGinley, 18, and Louie Attwood, 21. Hogwood was sentenced to 10-years, while Peter Atwood was given nine years. Kevin Mulhern received seven and a half years and Thomas Slayford was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Louie Atwood, Benson Aluko and Kai McGinley each received five-year sentences.

Detective Inspector Steven Sandilands, from Police Scotland’s specialist crime division, said: “I believe they were targeting this area as they saw it as a soft target. It would have been a truly horrendous incident had they been successful.

“However, due to the robust police response, we were able to bring this to a successful conclusion.”

police_mad_liam

Flickr / police_mad_liam

They were all being investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad when some of them were spotted travelling to St Andrews on February 25 last year for reconnaissance and Police Scotland was notified.

On March 2, 2015, six of them travelled to Scotland and stayed overnight in Glasgow before attempting to carry out the heist the following afternoon.

A police helicopter was deployed and the men were stopped by a large police team – including firearms and plain clothed officers.

McGinley and Slayford fled but were quickly apprehended near the town’s university.

Officers recovered two sledge hammers, a meat cleaver, a machete and a knife – weapons DI Sandilands claims would “no doubt” have been used in the robbery.

“In London there have been a number of injuries – people being knocked down by the scooters or people being attacked by the robbers themselves,” he said. “They’re careless and reckless.”

Had the robbers been successful, they would have made off with a “significant haul” of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery.

Police also believe it would have led to more “smash and grab” robberies taking place in Scotland.

DI Sandilands said: “Had this been successful in Scotland I think there could have been a number of similar-type robberies.

“The result of this operation delivers a strong message about our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime.”

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams August 9, 2016 16:16
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