Timepiece

Thief caught smuggling £25,000 from Rolex in his BUM after assaulting British holidaymaker in Mallorca

THREE Italians have admitted stealing a British holidaymaker’s £25,000 Rolex after one of the criminals was caught with the watch in his lower cheekbones.

The three men were each given two-year suspended prison sentences yesterday after confessing to the violent assault on the holiday island of Mallorca.

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Three men have confessed to the violent assault on the holiday island of MallorcaCredit: Solarpix
Italians have admitted stealing a British holidaymaker's £25,000 Rolex

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Italians have admitted stealing a British holidaymaker’s £25,000 RolexCredit: Solarpix

One of the three snatched the victim’s designer watch from her wrist with her purse after surprising her from behind as she sat on a bench in a square in the town of Portal Nous at eight miles west of the capital Palma.

He escaped on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

Police arrested them the day after the flight on September 26 last year as they attempted to board a plane to their home country.

The watch was found in one of the attacker’s underwear between his buttocks and returned to its rightful owner, although it was damaged and required thousands of pounds of repair work.

State prosecutors were seeking three and a half years in prison for the Italians ahead of yesterday’s hearing in a court in Palma.

They gave evidence by video link from an island prison where they have been held since their arrest, but were released after admitting wrongdoing and accepting two-year prison sentences which were suspended immediately after their lawyers reached an agreement with the public prosecutor.

Local reports said they had agreed to pay the victim, who suffered a minor wrist injury, nearly £1,300 in compensation plus the cost of damage to the Rolex. They paid a small fine before being released.

Police said last October, when they made the arrests public, that they had “destroyed a gang specializing in thefts of designer watches in tourist areas of Mallorca”. The detainees have not been named.

A Civil Guard spokesperson said at the time: ‘The suspects traveled to Mallorca from northern Italy to carry out the crimes in tourist areas frequented by wealthy holidaymakers.

“Once they chose their victim, they approached them on a moped and snatched their watch and sometimes assaulted their victim until they got what they wanted.

“At the same time that the Civil Guard was investigating, the Spanish National Police was carrying out another against the same suspects for the same reason.

“Agents from both organizations arrested the three men at Palma airport as they were about to leave the island in a joint operation.

“Officers recovered one of the watches that had been stolen, worth over £25,000 and was later returned to its rightful owner. The three suspects were placed behind bars.

GROWING PROBLEM

It was not immediately clear this morning whether the convicted men faced prosecution for other crimes.

Luxury watch theft has become a growing problem in the UK in recent years.

Last July, a gang that posed as buyers of valuable watches and ambushed sellers before shooting them was jailed.

Harrow Crown Court heard the crime trio rob six men in north London between December 2019 and January 2020.

They contacted the men by responding to online advertisements for Rolexes that their victims had posted and arranged to meet them in a public place before luring them to a quieter location and using guns, pliers, knives and hammers to take them away.

Andre Sinclair, 33, was sentenced to 11 years and 9 months for conspiracy to steal while Ashley King was sentenced to nine and a half years.

Layla DaSilva, 33, who responded to advertisements and initially met the victims was sentenced to four years and nine months.

Local reports that the men they had agreed to pay the victim, who suffered a minor wrist injury, nearly £1,300 in compensation

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Local reports that the men they had agreed to pay the victim, who suffered a minor wrist injury, nearly £1,300 in compensationCredit: Solarpix