Hapless thieves rob Leeds jeweller - but steal only his lunchbox

Naheem Hussain
Naheem Hussain

THREE hapless robbers who planned a 'sophisticated' jewellery heist ended up stealing a box of Tupperware and some sandwiches.

A court heard how one of the raiders was almost blind and another was a medical sciences student.

Hassan Mahmood

Hassan Mahmood

The trio targeted a husband and wife who own a Leeds jewellery shop shortly after they closed their business premises for the night.

The couple were holding bags when they were attacked as they walked through Roundhay on October 27, 2015.

The husband was punched in the face as the three men, all wearing balaclavas, carried out the robbery and fled with the bags.

Leeds Crown Court heard the robbers believed the attackers were carrying high value jewellery. In reality they contained groceries and a lunchbox.

Qasim Hussain

Qasim Hussain

Jailing the men to a total of 21 years, judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said: "The inference I draw is that you were targeting what you thought to be very high value, easily saleable jewellery.

"That, gentlemen, is what you were expecting. In the event you came away with virtually nothing but Tupperware and sandwiches

"It was a professionally planned, commercial robbery carried out with a degree of sophistication but ultimately gaining you nothing but your convictions."

The men were found guilty of robbery, assault with intent to rob and theft after a trial.

Qasim Hussain, 28, of Oakroyd Terrace, Bradford, and Hassan Mahmood, 26, of Bentcliffe Avenue, Leeds, were both jailed for nine years. Naheem Hussain, 27, also of Oakroyd Terrace, was jailed for three years.

A jury heard how the pair drove to Halifax two days before the incident and stole a car which they used in the robbery.

The vehicle, a Mitsubishi Pajero, was caught on CCTV a day before the attack as they carried out reconnaissance.

Mahmood, a medical sciences student and the son of a Leeds University lecturer, provided the balaclavas and arranged for the vehicle and other evidence to be torched after the raid.

The court heard they set fire to the car near to Roundhay Park but residents alerted the fire brigade who managed to put out the blaze and recover the balaclavas.

The defendants' DNA was later recovered from the balaclavas.

Robin Frieze, for Naheem Hussain, of Oakroyd Terrace, Bradford, said his client suffered from a condition which left him almost blind.

Mr Frieze said he could not have driven the stolen vehicle and was not responsible for hitting the victim.

After the case, Detective Inspector Neil Thompson, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: "This was a carefully planned and orchestrated robbery which saw the victims put through a terrifying ordeal when they were attacked by these men as they left their business.

"They went to great lengths to avoid being caught but a comprehensive investigation by specialist officers from Leeds District Crime Team uncovered clear evidence linking them to the crime.

"The weight of that evidence, which included painstaking checks on CCTV, detailed forensic work and phone analysis, saw the men found guilty at trial.

"We hope the significant prison sentences they have received will provide some suitable reassurance to the victims and to the wider community, and also serve as a warning to others who choose to involve themselves in violent organised crime such as this."