A gang armed with a chain-saw carried out a series of robberies at Asian jewellers across West Yorkshire, a court heard.
The balaclava-clad raiders carried out smash and grabs at jewellery stores in Huddersfield, Batley and Wakefield.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court heard how the gang of four bundled trays of jewels into builders’ rubble bags and used stolen cars with crudely blackened-out windows .
Prosecutor Rob Mairs said: “They targeted Asian Jewellers. They are not the not the high street stores. They are jewellers who deal with the bespoke and word of mouth market rather than passing trade.
“The offences were carried out by four white males wearing balaclavas and casual sportswear. They were carrying weapons. Pick axe handles, hammers and on one occasion a chainsaw.”
The first robbery happened at Sona Jewellers at Blacker Road, Huddersfield, on February 25, 2012. The raiders arrived at closing time in a stolen Land Rover carrying hammers.
And after breaking into the shop, they funnelled the gems into builders’ bags and demanded the owner opened the safe.
Their next raid was at Assad Jewellers in Purlwell Lane, Batley on March 8.
And on Grand National Day, Saturday April 14, the raid involving the chainsaw was carried out at WS Jewellers at Carlton Street, Wakefield.
Standing trial are John Boy Morrison, 40, of Cottingley Springs caravan site, Gildersome, Patrick Lowther, 33, of Castle Lodge Gardens, Rothwell, Steven Barker, 35, of Merchant Court, East Bowling, Bradford, and Garner Smith, 33, of Montrose Street, Bolton Woods, Bradford.
All deny conspiracy to rob.