Man jailed for £40m gems raid

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The Independent Online

A man was jailed for 21 years today for his role in Britain's biggest jewellery heist.

Craig Calderwood, 28, was the fifth person to be convicted over the Graff Jewellers robbery in London's Mayfair which saw £40 million of gems stolen at gunpoint.

Despite four other convictions the jewellery has not been found.

Police believe the raid was part of a sophisticated plan that was co-ordinated from the outside.

The investigation is still ongoing for other members of the robbery gang.

Scotland Yard said Calderwood was convicted of conspiring together with others to rob Graff Jewellers between August 3 and August 7 2009 and possessing a firearm during the robbery on August 6.

He was found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court after a jury was unable to reach a verdict in a first trial in July 2010.

Detective Chief Inspector Pam Mace, who has been leading the investigation, said: "This latest conviction is a successful conclusion to this part of what remains an ongoing investigation.

"I'd like to thank all the victims and witnesses who supported us throughout this prosecution despite the fact that it has meant reliving this violent incident.

"We have always said these individuals were recruited by others to commit the actual robbery.

"I would like to use this opportunity to remind anyone, including people from the criminal fraternity, that there is a reward of one million pounds for information given in connection with the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible, and the recovery of the stolen property."

In June 2010, Calderwood's accomplice, Aman Kassaye, 25, was convicted of kidnap, conspiracy to rob and possessing a firearm.

In the weeks following, three other men - Thomas Thomas, 46, Solomun Beyene, 25, and Clinton Mogg, 43 - were convicted of conspiracy to rob.

Police watched CCTV footage from inside the jewellery shop of Calderwood and Kassaye entering the store to carry out the robbery.

The pair are later seen fleeing the scene, with Calderwood escaping in a blue BMW and Kassaye running off.

After the convictions in 2010, police offered a reward of up to £1 million, which remains today, for information to help them trace a motorcyclist suspected of making off with the jewellery haul.

It is believed the accomplice was passed a black plastic bin bag containing the gems moments after the record heist at the prestigious Mayfair store.

But the biker was forced to abandon his gold-coloured Suzuki SV650 when it broke down a short distance away in Berkeley Square.

The mystery rider, who never removed his helmet, was part of a carefully planned plot which included blocking vehicles and numerous changes of getaway car to help the robbers escape.

Detectives scoured hundreds of hours of CCTV in a bid to trace the suspect's escape route through central London.

But they lost track of him after he walked into the 16-hectare Green Park, a short distance from Buckingham Palace.

Police are urging anyone who has any information about the robbery to contact them on 020 8247 4804 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.