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Home Deal News Article
A teenager has today been locked up for 10 years after an armed raid on a Deal jewellers by a group of bungling robbers branded the Fraggle Rock gang.
Oguzhan Kaya, 18, was part of a six-man team that earned its nickname when one of them claimed he only took part because he feared being thought to be a "fraggle".
But a jury heard the attack was so botched it could have come from the Muppet show Fraggle Rock, from which the term for a coward was coined.
The gang had planned the raid at A Simmonds in Deal's High Street on Halloween night last year – but left huge clues later for police.
Kaya, of Hinchcliffe Way, Margate, and 28-year-old Michael Delsignore, of Mill Road, Deal, were both convicted of the robbery. Kaya was also convicted of possessing an imitation firearm. They had denied the charges.
Ordering Kaya to be sentenced to 10 years in a young offenders' institution, Judge Adele Williams called him "arrogant and manipulative".
Kaya's ex-girlfriend Kayleigh Somerville – a 22-year-old mother of one of Bath Road, Margate - was given a four-month jail sentence suspended for two years after she admitted handling stolen property.
Prosecutor Peter Forbes told Canterbury Crown Court how three men – armed with what Kaya said was a real sawn-off shotgun – burst into the shop, ordering staff to lie down while they smashed cabinets.
But during the trial, a jury heard how Delsignore had hired a getaway van in his own name; fellow raiders then got into an argument over a £7 toll fee before the attack.
Mr Forbes added the bungling thieves later discovered all they snatched were second-hand watches and silver earrings, worth about £3,000.
And then they left the price tags inside the van for police to find and forgot to hire the van for a second day so it could be cleaned .
The trial heard how three men burst into the store armed with what staff believed was a double-barrelled shotgun.
The men, all hooded and wearing balaclavas or scarves, walked into the shop and began smashing display cabinets – after ordering the female staff members to lie down.
An assistant thought at first that it was just a practical joke.
Angela Rougier said in a statement read to the court: "At first I thought this was a Halloween prank but then one of the men said: 'Get down!'.
"The other man then lifted up a double-barrelled shotgun. I then crouched down. I could then hear glass being smashed."
"At first I thought this was a Halloween prank but then one of the men said: 'Get down!'..." - Angela Rougier
The staff were praised by the judge for "acting with courage and professional" during the attack.
But instead of loading up a sports bag with expensive jewels, the gormless thieves just went for second-hand and less expensive silver items.
And while they were busy making noise, which alerted passers-by, another assistant pressed an alarm button to alert police that a raid was taking place.
They then headed back along the Ancient Highway – the road between Deal and Sandwich - via the Royal St Georges private estate and golf course.
The estate has a £7 toll booth, but the white van driver – with Delsignore inside – had a bust-up with the estate manager when they refused to hand over the cash.
The episode was caught on CCTV and the manager remembered the verbal abuse he was given by the occupants.
And when the gang torched the Peugeot used in the raid, the smoke was seen by people living nearby.
A week later, officers went to the home of Kaya's girlfriend and found him hiding in the basement.
Mr Forbes said that on a coffee table in the middle of the room, officers seized a plastic container with a pair of red stone earrings inside.
Nearby they discovered more earrings in a make-up bag - still mounted in their plastic display pieces along with a price tag with "A Simmonds".
Judge Williams praised DCs Nathan Scamp and Simon Harrold for their investigation.
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