Sir Alan Sugar has just splashed out on a £46,000 on a watch at a Plymouth shop.
In a tweet earlier today, tycoon Sir Alan shared a photo of himself receiving the Patek Philippe 5711/1A-010 watch from Michael Cox of Michael Spiers jewellers.
The Appentice star and Peer praised the store – which has branches in Plymouth, Truro, Exeter and Taunton – saying: “That’s what I call service. Michael Cox of @MichaelSpiers delivers my new Patek Philippe watch model 5711/1A-010.”
The watch is advertised on the Michael Spiers website without a price and the website would not allow us to add it to our shopping cart.
This is probably just as well, because our expense account probably wouldn’t run to the the £46,290 the model costs if bought on the chronext website.
Back in 2016, hailed Michael Spiers as the “best watch supplier in UK” and in August 2015 he came to Plymouth to buy a £8,000 Rolex from the store.
At the time, Michael Spiers’ son and current owner said he was pleased that, after many years, Lord Sugar still takes trips from London to Plymouth to look for watches.
Michael Spiers told the Plymouth Herald: “We have a good relationship with him and so have never wanted to mention it before.
“I just think it’s fantastic that he lives in London but is spending his money in Plymouth.”
At the beginning of this year, the Truro branch of Michael Spiers was robbed in Cornwall’s biggest ever heist.
On January 10 of this year four masked men burst into Michael Spiers in Lower Lemon Street, Truro, waving an imitation firearm and armed with pepper spray.
The men told staff to “get down” and then proceeded to strip the shop of nearly £1 million worth of goods, which have never been recovered.
Two of the men who entered the shop were arrested on the A30 near Launceston that day, and another two in Bristol the following day. One planner of the hold-up was apprehended hours after the robbery just as he was about to board a flight to his native Lithuania.
Police were then able to piece together the plot, making three further arrests.
Five of those involved in the heist came to the UK specifically to commit the crime.
Here’s the full story of how the biggest robbery in Devon and Cornwall Police progressed through legal system, from the defendants’ first court appearance right through to the moment those convicted were led down the stairs to begin their respective sentences.
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January 14 – Five charged
Lithuanians Tomas Bakierskis, 24, Haroldas Ivanovas, 20, Andrius Buinevicius, 41, Saulius Mickus, 28, and Rogertas Slekaitis, 25, were charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and having an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.
January 15 – Magistrates’ Court appearance
The men appeared before magistrates in Truro where, with the help of an interpreter, they confirmed their names, dates of birth and nationalities.
The court heard none of the men had a permanent address in the UK.
The men, wearing matching regulation issue grey jumpers and tracksuit bottoms, were flanked in the dock by security guards as they listened to the case.
The magistrates declined jurisdiction in the case due to the seriousness of the offences and the matter was passed to the Crown court.
Each of the men’s solicitors made no application for bail and the men were remanded back into custody.
February 5 – Four more charged
Devon and Cornwall Police revealed that four further men had been charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
They were Agris Davidonis, 30, from Petroc Court in Gunnislake, Gytis Inokaitis, 36, from Plymouth, and Deimantas Burba, 32, of no fixed abode. Charges against Burba were later dropped.
Harijus Jaciaskas, 33, from Manchester, had also been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and breach of a deportation order.
February 13 – Pleas
Three men admitted being involved in the armed robbery.
That afternoon Ivanovas, Slekaitis, and Bakierskis all appeared at Truro Crown Court and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery.
Ivanovas also admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, a charge denied by Slekaitis and Bakierskis.
Bakierskis pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon (pepper spray), a count he alone was charged with.
Also admitting a role in the robbery was Davidonis, originally from Latvia. He denied conspiracy to commit robbery, but pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice when he gave a false witness statement to police lying about who he knew and who had visited his address. Davidonis’ pleas were accepted by the Crown, meaning that he would not have to stand trial.
Buinevicius, Inokaitis and Jaciaskas all entered not guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit robbery. Charges against Jaciaskas were later changed, meaning he faced an assisting an offender charge.
February 23 – The final plea
Mickus entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, possessing an imitation firearm and possessing a prohibited weapon.
The imitation firearm Mickus carried during the raid was a Glock BB pistol and the prohibited weapon a canister of pepper spray.
Mickus had been due to enter his pleas the previous week, alongside his co-accused, but, due to the absence of his representing barrister, his plea hearing was adjourned. It later emerged that the barrister who was meant to be representing Mickus, Robert Duval, died in a crash on his way to Truro Crown Court.
His case resumed with new legal representation.
Also entering a further plea that day was Jaciaskas, who denied one charge of assisting an offender.
July 9 – The trial opening
The gunpoint robbery from which almost a million pounds worth of jewellery is still unaccounted for was planned months in advance, with the masterminds undertaking a number of scouting missions, a jury was told.
The Michael Spiers jewellery shop was the scene of the armed robbery on the morning of Wednesday, January 10, of this year.
Prosecuting barrister Philip Lee told Truro Crown Court that four masked men stormed into the property waving an imitation firearm before scooping cabinet contents into a bag and holdall and fleeing the city.
Ivanovas and Mickus had already pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and wouldn’t be sentenced until the conclusion of the trial.
On Monday, July 9, at Truro Crown Court five men sat in the dock charged with various degrees of involvement in the robbery.
Standing trial was Bakierskis, who pleaded guilty to robbery but not guilty to possession of a firearm with intent; Buinevicius, who denied possession of a firearm with intent and conspiracy to rob; Slekaitis, who admitted robbery but denied possession of a firearm with intent; Jaciaskas, who pleaded not guilty to assisting an offender; and Inokaitis, who pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to rob.
All of the men standing trial lived in Lithuania, except from Inokaitis and Jaciaskas, who, although originally from the Baltic country, lived in Plymouth and Manchester respectively.
Opening the case, Mr Lee said: “This case involves the robbery of Michael Spiers on the morning of Wednesday, January 10.
“Shortly before 10am staff working were confronted by four males entering the shop. All had their faces covered and were shouting ‘get down’.
“The first one to enter had a firearm pointed at staff and the three other men concentrated on recovering the jewellery and watches from the display. Crowbars were used to force the cabinets and a rucksack and holdall to take the property away.
“They left after less than two minutes in a Renault Laguna that was driven from the scene to Garras Wharf car park where the vehicle was abandoned and the defendants drove away in a Ford Mondeo. The value of goods stolen was in the region of £965,000 and none of the property has been recovered.”
Mr Lee then launched into more detail about the case, saying the men who entered Michael Spiers were Ivanovas, Mickus, Bakierskis and Slekaitis, and that the Mondeo containing Slekaitis and Ivanovas was stopped near Launceston shortly after midday when they were arrested. Mickus and Bakierskis were arrested in Bristol the following day after they had boarded a train to the city.
Neither Slekatis or Bakierskis denied taking part in the robbery, however they claimed to be unaware that the firearm was going to be produced.
Moving on to Buinevicius, Mr Lee said he was arrested at Luton Airport later on January 10 as he was about to board a flight back to Lithuania.
Inokaitis was arrested three weeks later at his home in Plymouth and the prosecution said the robbery had been planned for more than three months by Inokaitis and Buinevicius.
Mr Lee added: “Buinevicius travelled to the UK twice and again in January to meet Inokaitis, plan the robbery and oversee its execution. Inokaitis and Buinevicius were both involved in acquiring the getaway cars, by visiting and researching the relevant locations, and, in January, collecting the four men from Bristol who were to execute and carry out the robbery.
“Inokaitis and Buinevicius claim that the reason for their meetings, visits to Truro, acquiring of vehicles and collecting of their countrymen from the airport were all to do with Inokaitis’ secondhand clothes business.”
The four men who entered the shop, plus Buinevicius, were not living in the UK and only came to the UK to take part in the robbery.
Between October 9 and 13 Buinevicius hired a Ford Fiesta from Luton Airport, driving it to Newton Abbot, where he met Inokaitis. Mr Lee said the sole purpose for his visit was to make contact with Inokaitis and plan the robbery.
On the afternoon of October 9, while Buinevicius was travelling from Luton, Inokaitis acquired an unregistered mobile phone which was used to purchase a Ford Mondeo later used in the robbery.
Inokaitis and Buinevicius claimed to have then travelled to Plymouth together and then on to Gunnislake, mobile phone records and automatic number plate recognition showing them to be in the same places at the same time.
“On October 10, 11 and 12 Buinevicius made several journeys into Truro city centre, with the sole purpose to research the routes and plan the robbery,” said Mr Lee. “On October 10 Inokaitis accompanied him on a journey to Truro according to the movement of his iPhone.”
That same afternoon Inokaitis used the unregistered phone to buy the other vehicle involved in the robbery, the Renault Laguna, with the phone being disposed of “as soon as it served its criminal purpose”.
“On October 11 Buinevicius drove into Truro followed by the Renault Laguna and sat-nav data shows the hire car drove several laps around the city centre,” said Mr Lee.
“At 16:02 they left, driving to St Austell, and the prosecution says that there was no innocent reason for repeatedly driving past Michael Spiers that afternoon and those circuits were part of the planning of the robbery.”
Buinevicius returned to Truro again, this time followed by the Mondeo on January 12, and the two vehicles were still together later that day in Gunnislake, where Inokaitis’ employee Davidonis lives.
Mr Lee added: “During these three of four days Inokaitis was instrumental in the purchase of both cars used in the robbery and Buinevicius drove down to Truro on no less than five occasions, sometimes with one of the other cars driving right behind him.”
Further planning visits to Truro were carried out between October and the robbery in January.
The four who entered the shop, as well as Buinevicius, were arrested so quickly because of CCTV and automatic number plate recognition which showed the three vehicles (Mondeo, Laguna and Buinevicius’ hire car) travelling into Truro together on the morning of the crime.
July 10 – Witness accounts
A jewellery shop manager told the jury how he had a gun pointed at him and was pepper-sprayed during the armed raid at his business.
Michael Spiers store manager David Brignall said he was on duty at the store on the morning in question along with three other members of staff.
Mr Brignall said four men came into the store shouting the word “down”.
He added: “I put my hands in the air and shouted, ‘please don’t hurt anyone, take what you need, no-one will stop you’.
“The first male came through the door and had what I believed to be a gun of some form.
“As he came through he went towards a colleague on the shop floor and shouted ‘down’ before walking towards me pointing the pistol.
“Initially I put my hands up and tried to keep contact, shouting, ‘don’t hurt anyone, nobody will stop you’ over and over again.
“After he shouted ‘down’ liquid was sprayed at me, hitting me in the chest and neck. I was short of breath and my eyes were streaming. I still had my hands up and went down onto my knees.”
Mr Brignall then described how a member of the public walked into the shop and was sprayed and had a gun pointed at him despite Mr Brignall warning him to get down and do as they said.
Mr Brignall said he then could see a diamond cabinet window being opened, its contents being swept onto the floor before being stuffed into a holdall.
He said: “Other than shouting ‘down’ I didn’t hear them say anything else. It was all actions and body language to communicate. They knew what they were doing.”
Mr Brignall said that after the raid it was apparent that a large number of items had been taken.
One of Mr Brignall’s colleagues, sales executive Paul Bassett, said he was walking towards the main area of the store and noticed someone enter with their back to him wearing a grey hooded top and, as became apparent seconds later, a balaclava.
Mr Bassett said: “The gun was pointed at me and I was told to get on the floor. They shouted at me to ‘get down’ many times.
“I got on the floor as soon as I could and lay there with my face down. I heard the cabinets being opened and I heard David shout to a gentleman not to intervene, to leave them alone.”
That same morning Elizabeth Long was going to work in Truro city centre and was parked in Garras Wharf Car Park.
She told the court that shortly after 9am she noticed four young men.
She said: “They just looked very oddly behaved and looked fidgety, jumping in and out of the car. They looked so uneasy.”
Ms Long told Mr Lee that she noticed one of them shout across the car park to a fifth man before four men got into a vehicle and drove away.
Ms Long added that minutes later the men returned and parked next to her, one holding a black holdall.
They are then said to have left in a different vehicle before Ms Long got out and took a picture of the initial car that was left behind.
Bus driver Kevin Hunt then described to the jury how he was driving in the vicinity of the Michael Spiers store when he saw a burgundy Renault Laguna parked awkwardly, causing him to have to squeeze to get past it.
Mr Hunt said moments later he saw two men emerge from the shop in balaclavas. He stopped his bus, got out and gave chase and, despite urging other people and a recycling lorry to block their paths, the by then four men managed to get into the Renault and escape up Lemon Street.
July 11 – Change of pleas
Two more men admitted full involvement in the armed robbery.
Bakierskis and Slekaitis always admitted conspiracy to commit robbery but previously denied possession of an imitation firearm.
However, two days into their trial at Truro Crown Court, both Bakierskis and Slekaitis changed their plea for the firearm offence to guilty, conceding that they had full knowledge a gun would be used during the hold-up.
It meant they no longer had to sit trial, leaving just Jaciaskas, Buienvicius and Inokaitis in the dock.
July 13 – Buinevicius takes to the stand
Mastermind of the robbery Buinevicius denied coming to Cornwall to carry out planning missions for the heist, saying his visits were part of his introduction to a job working for a clothing recycling business.
He was one of the main planners for the robbery and visited the UK on a number of occasions, driving to the South West to meet with Inokaitis.
Together with Inokaitis, Buinevicius planned the robbery and visited Truro on a number of occasions, Buinevicius’s sat nav showing circuits around the city centre. Inokaitis also denied conspiracy to rob.
Taking to the witness stand, Buinevicius answered questions through an interpreter, explaining that at the time of his visit to the South West in October 2017 he was working as a farmer in Lithuania.
He said that as his work was seasonal and low-paid, he contacted Inokaitis as he knew he had a clothing recycling business in Devon and Cornwall and that he employed migrant workers.
Buinevicius said discussions were ongoing for a month and he also had contact with a Lithuanian man called Lymis, who lived in the UK.
According to Buinevicius’ sat nav he arrived at Luton Airport on January 10 and he told the jury how he drove his hire car to Asda in Newton Abbott to meet Inokaitis and Lymis to talk about work. He said he hoped Lymis would be able to help him buy a car.
Buinevicius said that evening he drove Lymis to purchase the Ford Mondeo used in the robbery and then that night stayed at a property at Petroc Court in Gunnislake, a property inhabited by some of Inokaitis’ employees.
When asked why his sat nav showed a trip to Truro the following morning, Buinevicius said: “Gytis (Inokaitis) came to Petroc Court that morning and he said, ‘let’s show you where the work was taking place’. The collection of clothing and the distribution of bags.
“He said, ‘while I have time we will go and show you where work takes place across Cornwall’.”
Buinevicius said that Inokaitis joined him in the hire car, giving him directions on where to go.
Explaining a subsequent trip to Bristol, Buinevicius said he went alone to look at a van, but he didn’t buy it as “it was horrible”.
After the Bristol trip Buinevicius returned to Gunnislake, where he stayed another night before he departed for Truro again the next morning. Buinevicius said this time he took Lymis to show him the areas Inokaitis has pointed out to him the day before.
Buinevicius said he then drove to St Austell “to show where the work was taking place”, before returning to Truro to drop Lymis at a car he was using.
Buinevicius claimed that on October 12 Lymis borrowed his car twice and that he wasn’t the driver on a further trip to St Austell and Truro.
He then flew back to Lithuania on October 13 before returning to the UK nine days later.
At this point the jury was sent home for the weekend.
July 16 – Buinevicius part two
On Monday (July 16), Buinevicius again took to the witness stand to discuss his second and third visits to the UK.
Buinevicius said that after landing at Luton Airport he made his way to Inokaitis’ property in Gunnislake, where many of his employees lived, and the next morning he let Lymis borrow his car.
On October 24 the hire car again was tracked travelling to Truro, Buinevicius saying it was again being driven by Lymis, who had borrowed it as he needed “to pick up an employee”.
It was at this point Buinevicius said he was frustrated at a lack of progress regarding his work situation, deciding to return to Lithuania but keep in contact in the hope of employment in the new year.
Buinevicius returned to the UK on January 8 after being told “things were in place for work”.
Addressing the jury through an interpreter, Buinevicius claimed that when he arrived at Petroc Court in Gunnislake, Inokaitis turned up to let him in and introduced him to Slekaitis.
Buinevicius said he was then asked to drive to Bristol to pick up two employees from the airport who turned out to be the armed robbers Haroldas Ivanovas and Tomas Bakierskis.
When asked, as far as he was concerned, why were the men were in the UK, Buinevicius replied “for work collecting the clothing”.
It was also pointed out to him that he failed to mention the Bristol trip during his first interview, Buinevicius saying he didn’t want to get the men in trouble as he didn’t know if they committed the crime or not.
Buinevicius claimed that he was informed about problems with him getting work which left him feeling angry and disappointed, given the money he invested getting to the UK, so decided to pack his bags and fly home the following day (the day of the robbery).
On the morning of the crime Buinevicius said that Slekaitis came into his room and asked to borrow his hire car, a request he refused as he “didn’t want to be taken advantage of”.
Buinevicius said: “He asked me to accompany him to Truro as he said he needed to go there but didn’t have insurance and if police stopped him he would be left at the side of the road. I decided to help and accompany him.”
Again, Buinevicius, when asked why he failed to mention this to police during his interview, said he didn’t want to get Slekaitis in trouble as he didn’t know where he’d been.
During the trip to Truro shortly before the heist, Buinevicius’ was snapped driving in convoy with the Ford Mondeo and Renault Laguna used in the robbery, but Buinevicius told the jury he was only aware of the one vehicle being driven by Slekaitis and returned to Petroc Court after driving into Garras Wharf car park. After going back to Petroc Court Buinevicius then made his way to Luton for his flight home.
He was then asked a variety of quick-fire questions asking if he knew the robbery was going to happen, if he had anything to do with it and if he had any idea what police officers were talking about when he was arrested, answering “no” to every question.
July 17 Gytis Inokaitis gives evidence
The businessman told the jury that his clothing recycling enterprise was not a front to hide his involvement in the armed robbery.
Inokaitis, originally from Lithuania, was said to have been one of the main planners of the hold-up at Michael Spiers.
Inokaitis pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to rob and answered questions in English.
He explained that he lived in Plymouth with his son and partner and had resided in Norway and Sweden prior to arriving in the UK.
Inokaitis’ business focuses on collecting clothing from residential areas and then sending it on to countries such as the Ukraine, working with a number of charities including the NSPCC.
The business is VAT registered and Inokaitis oversees a number of drivers, each with their own respective team that covers a particular area.
Inokaitis told the jury that he rented three houses for his employees to live in, including a property at Petroc Court in Gunnislake which has been frequently mentioned during the trial.
Inokaitis said he first came into contact with co-defendant Andrius Buinevicius around September of last year.
He said: “He asked me about a job. I explained about the job and he said he was interested and could get his own team.
“I have guys who call me all the time but I said I can help him get a car. When he came to this country I met him at Asda in Newton Abbott with his friend. His friend was introduced to me but I couldn’t remember his name until here (the trial). I understand it now to be Lymis.”
Inokaitis was asked why, on January 8, he drove to Bristol Airport and picked up Rogertas Slekaitis, one of four men who has already admitted the armed robbery, replying that he did so to help Buinevicius assemble his team for work.
Inokaitis said he failed to tell police about meeting Buinevicius in October or that he had collected Slekaitis and Salius Mickus from the airport because he was “scared” and wanted to distance himself from the allegations.
The defendant insisted his story was legitimate and dealings with Buinevicius came about as an attempt to show him about his business.
He added that he helped Buinevicius to purchase two cars (that were later used in the robbery) because Inokaitis thought that if he purchased the vehicles it would show he was serious about work.
When asked why he travelled to Truro on October 12 – a robbery scouting mission – Inokaitis responded by saying that he had hoped to go to Penzance to see the sea but didn’t make it that far. He added that his business did carry out collections around the Truro area.
Inokaitis claimed that Buinevicius told him he wanted to purchase a second vehicle (the Renault Laguna) to sell for parts back home and that a phone was used exclusively to purchase the two cars because he intended to hand it over to Buinevicius after so he could deal with the sellers and any hitches.
Prosecuting barrister Philip Lee asked Inokaitis: “Were you using that phone so your name wouldn’t be associated with the purchase of the cars?” He replied “no”.
Inokaitis outlined to the jury that the nature of the business meant a lot of people came and went and he was looking for people to come and work in Cornwall, hence his willingness to pick up Slekaitis and Mickus from Bristol.
Inokaitis then categorically denied using his business as a front to hide his involvement in the robbery before he was quizzed about a brief trip to St Austell in the hours following the raid, a trip the prosecution alleges was made to recover the stolen property.
When asked why he was in St Austell in a van between 6pm and 7.57pm, he said: “The van had bad brakes. I took it to a garage in Callington but it was too busy. I went to Liskeard but couldn’t find anywhere so went to St Austell. I didn’t find anywhere so tried to fix it myself.”
July 17 – Harijus Jaciaskas takes to the standA man has described how he drove from Manchester to Cornwall and back overnight – picking up two armed robbers along the way – because it’s Lithuanian custom to help others out but didn’t know anything about the heist.
Jaciaskas was also standing trial accused of assisting an offender relating to the 630-mile return trip he made to St Austell through the night, where he stayed for a matter of minutes.
Jaciaskas told the jury that although from Lithuania originally, he lives in Manchester with his wife and works with cars.
Explaining how the trip came about Jaciaskas said through an interpreter: “I was on my way back from work and just before 8pm I met my friend Johnny near my house. Johnny is my friend and we used to go to the gym together. He asked if I could pick a couple of people up from Bristol and I agreed.”
Jaciaskas admitted that he didn’t know Johnny’s surname and wasn’t able to provide any contact details for him.
He added: “I asked why couldn’t he (Johnny) do it but he said he was busy. I agreed to help him out because in the future I might need a favour and there was nobody else to pick them up.”
When asked if he knew the men or if there was discussion of any payment Jaciaskas said he didn’t know them and “in general Lithuanians don’t really take money from each other, they just try and help each other out”.
Jaciaskas detailed how he spoke to the men on the phone and established they were also Lithuanian. He then made his way to Bristol where he picked up the two men, who he didn’t recognise, and asked where they wanted to go. The two men turned out to be Salius Mickus and Tomas Bakierskis, both of whom have already admitted to committing the Truro shop raid.
Jaciaskas said: “One of them took out a train ticket and showed me the name of the town. It was St Austell. We were listening to music and they were chatting between themselves more.
“I put the name of the town into the sat-nav and followed the sat-nav and came out somewhere near the train station. I thought I had to pick them up in Bristol and take them towards Manchester but I agreed to take them because I wanted to help out and as I had come all that way I might as well help and not go home empty-handed.”
Jaciaskas said the two men didn’t mention any robbery and he didn’t notice anything to suspect they’d been involved in a crime.
The defendant then outlined how the men directed him around St Austell after arriving at about 3am but were unable to find whoever or whatever it was they were looking for.
After complaining he was tired Jaciaskas told them he was going home and they agreed, asking to be dropped off at Bristol. Jaciaskas claims the men thanked him when back in Bristol and he had no further contact with them until he was arrested on suspicious of robbery on January 23.
He then bought fuel, Red Bull energy drink and water, stopping off for a brief sleep at a service station before arriving back in Manchester around midday on January 11.
He also added that he was expecting to hear from Johnny but never saw or heard from him up until his arrest.
July 19 – The verdicts
After just two hours of deliberations, the jury returns with their verdicts.
They find Buinevicius guilty of conspiracy to rob and possession of an imitation firearm.
Inokaitis is convicted of conspiracy to rob.
However, the jury returns a not guilty verdict clearing Jaciaskas of assisting an offender. However he admits breaching a deportation order.
July 19 Inokaitis and Buinevicius sentencing
In mitigation for Buinevicius, Thomas Godfrey told Judge Simon Carr that although he accepts he played a significant role, there were others higher up the chain who played the leading role in the criminal enterprise.
Mr Godfrey added that no injuries were sustained and it wasn’t a real firearm used, instead a BB gun sprayed black to look more authentic.
He also mentioned that Buinevicius has a young son and, as a result of the conviction, will be out of his life for a considerable amount of time.
Representing Inokaitis, Kenneth Aylett said he had thrown away his family, his business and, up until the conviction, was well thought of in the local community.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Carr said it was “a carefully planned and sophisticated robbery”.
He said: “Anyone who watches the CCTV from the jewellers can see those involved had been very carefully prepared for the crime they were committing.
“I have no doubt, Gytis Inokaitis, that you were responsible for selecting Michael Spiers as a suitable target because of your local knowledge and in the CCTV it is clear the window displays were particularly targeted and those who entered had the tools to prize open the shutters that protected the windows.
“Those who committed the robbery were armed with a firearm painted black to look more realistic and it would no doubt have been terrifying for those it was pointed at. The group also had pepper spray and showed no hesitation in using it.
“Almost £1million of jewellery was stolen in the robbery which took a little more than two minutes.
“It wasn’t just the planned on the day which was self evident, planning in the case two a number of months.
“Andrius Buinevicius, you came to the UK twice in October to buy the getaway vehicles and to research and plan the routes. The sat-nav in your car showed you circling the jewellers and other areas of the plot including the car-park where the cars were exchanged and the railway station where the robbers were dropped off.
“It’s clear you took significant part in planning and the recruiting of those who took part. It is though conceivable that people further up were directing things from Lithuania.
“Gytis Inokaitis, you were used because of your knowledge of Cornwall. You ran a very successful business that not only provided you with knowledge but presented you with a front the robbery could hide behind. An integral part of your business was people coming from Lithuania and you putting them up, often staying for short periods.
“You bought them vehicles to assist with their work and took people to the areas in which they were going to operate.
“You had in place the opportunity the explain it as innocent business and I have no doubt you were recruited rather than being an instigator but you actively engaged thereafter.”
Judge Carr also noted that Buinevicius had previous for firearms offences for which he received six years in a Lithuanian prison.
Buinevicius was jailed for 16 years and Inokaitis for 13, of which they must both serve half before they are eligible for parole.
Although found not guilty of any involvement in the robbery Harijus Jaciaskas, 33, from Manchester was sentenced to three months for entering the UK in breach of a deportation order.
Philip Lee of the CPS said: “This was a terrifying robbery which was planned and carried out by members of an international organised crime group, some of whom travelled to this country for the sole purpose of committing the crime.
“The investigation by the Devon and Cornwall Police was swift and thorough. The case we presented in court relied upon witnesses, CCTV footage and mobile phone and vehicle tracking data to link these men to the robbery. The evidence was so compelling that two of the defendants changed their pleas to guilty part way through the trial”.
July 20 – Sentencing of Mickus, Ivanovas, Bakierskis, Slekaitis and Davidonis
The dock was filled with the four men who entered the store, all of whom had admitted conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
They were joined by Inokaitis’ employee Latvian Agris Davidonis, 31, who admitted perverting the course of justice. Davidonis lived in a property in Gunnislake rented by Inokaitis and told police lies about who had visited the property in the build-up to the heist.
Prosecution barrister Philip Lee again told the court: “The robbery was planned from October 2017 by Andrius Buinevicius, assisted by Gytis Inokaitis. These four men (Ivanovas, Slekaitis, Mickus and Bakierskis) were recruited and brought into the UK on January 8 and 9.
“Inokaitis collected Mickus and Slekaitis from the airport in Bristol and Buenivicius then collected Ivanovas and Bakierskis.
“Moving onto January 10, Buenivicius drove into Truro followed by two vehicles occupied by these four men. They entered Garras Wharf car park and Buinevicius left and remained just outside of Truro.
“The four men drove to the scene in a Renault Laguna and carried out the robbery just before 10am. CCTV showed the four men entering the shop one after another. Ivanovas was first and using a black hand gun shouting at staff to get down.
“Slekaitis was second holding pepper spray and Mickus third attacking display cabinets. Bakierskis was fourth and filled his backpack with the jewellery.
“Shop managed David Brignall was sprayed with an irritant liquid and fell to his knees. Another member of staff, Mr Bassett, was threatened with a gun and lay on the floor face down throughout. A member of the public also entered the shop and was sprayed with pepper spray and dropped to his knees. It was no doubt a terrifying experience.”
Mr Lee added that Ivanovas and Slekaitis were arrested in a Ford Mondeo shortly after midday in Launceston and Buinevicius was arrested at Luton Airport as he was about to board a flight. Bakierskis and Mickus were both arrested in Bristol after catching a train but returned the following night due to a problem with the recovery and disposal of the stolen property.
The court heard how Ivanovas had no previous convictions, Slekaitis – who told police initially he was in the area sightseeing – has convictions for robbery and drug offences in Lithuania, Mickus had previous for theft and Bakierskis also had history of robbery in his homeland.
Mr Lee also outlined how Davidonis denied being aware of or recognising Buenivicius despite him staying at the house in Petroc Court. Davidonis was also £3,000 in debt to Inokaitis and has unrelated previous convictions.
Representing Ivanovas, Mr Kehler said that he took responsibility for his actions from the outset.
He said: “At 20 he is a young man and the circumstances are that his father died when he was six. He has no qualifications so work is hard to come by. His mother became an alcoholic and when this opportunity presented itself when he was approached by a friend of a friend, he saw it as an chance to put his mum into rehab. He was no involved in the planning and was a foot soldier flown in.”
Ramsay Quaife mitigated on behalf of Slekaitis and said that he didn’t have the easiest of starts in life, his abusive father serving in the Russian army prior to independence. He was looked after by his extended family and had to walk 15 kilometres to school in temperatures as low as minus 30, before he “fell into trouble”.
Mr Quaife added that he was “rife for recruitment” due to him only being able to secure low pain labouring jobs and that his family describe him as “a good man” who they have never seen in drink or taking drugs. Slekaitis wants to serve his time and return to his fiancé and step child.
Derek Perry, defending Mickus pointed out that he did not use the pepper spray and that he returned to Lithuania from Germany to discover his two young siblings had been taken into care. Mr Perry said he “wanted to earn money to bring his family unit back together”.
Piers Norsworthy said that Bakierskis didn’t know he was coming to England to carry out the robbery, and thought that the operation would involve petty stealing.
Mr Norsworthy described him as “a foot soldier in the enterprise” who didn’t have a happy childhood and fell in with the wrong crowd.
Chris Spencer said that Davidonis had been in the UK for 12 years and has a partner and two children. He said that his involvement was limited to the false witness statement which was soon straightened out. Since being in prison he has done every course available to him and wants to return to Latvia as soon as he is able to.
Sentencing the five, Judge Simon Carr said the robbery was “meticulously planned and executed” and carried out with “almost military precision”.
He said: “The four of you who actively carried it out I accept had no part in the initial planning and that is a factor in your sentences.
“Each of you were brought in days before and arrived with a part to play. Mr Ivanovas you were armed with an imitation pistol that would have seemed very real to anyone confronted with it. The others were responsible for the control of the shop and stealing from the displays. Crowbars were brought for that purpose and all of you made attempts to disguise your face.
“In two minutes you succeeded in stealing almost £1million of goods.”
Noting Ivanovas’ age and previous good character he was sentenced to seven years in a young offenders’ institute.
Slekaitis and Bakierskis were jailed for nine-and-a-half years and Mickus eight years.
All must serve half before they are eligible for release.
Michael Spiers statement
Adam Spiers, director of Michael Spiers said: “After the recent court case concerning the robbery which took place in our Truro store on January 10, we would like to share our sincere thanks and gratitude towards Devon and Cornwall Police for their continued efforts and hard work during the investigations and court process.
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