Vicious gang behind the theft of Worksop's Portland Tiara jailed for more than 100 years

Members of a violent criminal gang behind the theft of a multi-million pound tiara near Worksop have been jailed for more than 100 years.

By Andy Done-Johnson
Friday, 15th July 2022, 4:20 pm

Police closed in on the gang after the Portland Tiara – described as ‘a heritage jewellery of national importance’ and worth around £3.5million was stolen during an audacious raid on the Harley Gallery, located on the Welbeck Estate.

The tiara and a matching brooch were stolen during the smash-and-grab raid on the evening of November 20, 2018.

Gang members Ashley Cumberpatch, Kurtis Dilks and Andrew MacDonald were convicted last week for their part in the raid – partly thanks to a reconnaissance video of the crime scene filmed by Cumberpatch the previous year.

The gang were jailed for more than 100 years

Subsequent investigations linked the prime suspects to a series of violent home-invasions targeting wealthy victims in locations in Nottinghamshire and Surrey.

On one occasion in January 2020, a former international footballer and his family were tied up by masked intruders who had forced their way into their home.

On another, in March 2019, a burglary victim had his earlobe cut with pliers to coerce him into handing over valuables.

Police were alerted to the gang’s wider activities during the investigation into the theft of the tiara.

Detectives linked the gang to a pair of crooked jewellers working out of a shop in London’s Hatton Gardens and soon established a clear pattern of behaviour, with visits by gang members coming immediately after high value home invasion burglaries in Nottinghamshire and Surrey.

When they raided the shop, Paris Jewells, to look for evidence, officers found a plastic bag containing a stash of jewellery and an FA Cup runners-up medal stolen the day before from the home of another professional footballer.

Jewellers Tevfik Guccuk and Sercan Evsin, were later convicted of converting criminal property.

Dilks, whose DNA was found on a knife and a cable tie used to restrain one of the burglary victims, was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, four counts of converting criminal property, three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, and two counts of robbery.

Dilks, of Whitegate Vale, Clifton, was jailed for 30 years and must serve an additional five on extended licence.

Cumberpatch, 37, previously of First Avenue, Carlton, was convicted of three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, five counts of converting criminal property, and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was jailed for 29 years with an additional five on extended licence.

MacDonald, 42, of no fixed address, was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, five counts of converting criminal property, and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was jailed for 32 years with an additional five on extended licence.

Tevfik Guccuk, 41, of Houndsden Road, Southgate, London, was found guilty of five counts of converting criminal property. He was jailed for seven years.

Sercan Evsin, 27, of Meadow Close, in Barnet, was convicted of four counts of converting criminal property. He was jailed for five years.

Christopher Yorke, 50, of Rose Ash Lane, Top Valley, was convicted of one count of converting criminal property. He was handed a 12 month sentence suspended for 24 months.

Detective Inspector Gayle Hart, who led the investigation for Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The men who carried out these crimes were ruthless and violent in the extreme.

“They terrorised innocent victims in their own homes with wholly disproportionate levels of violence and likely would have continued with this pattern of offending had we not caught up with them when we did.

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Trio convicted of role in theft of £3.5million Portland Tiara in Worksop

“So as these criminals each begin richly deserved jail sentences, I would like to thank the dedicated team of detectives who devoted countless hours to one of the most complex investigations I can remember.

“They joined the police to protect the public from harm. In reality, that means taking ruthless criminals like Cumberpatch, Dilks and MacDonald off the streets, so they should all feel very proud at what they have achieved in this case.

“I am acutely aware that no amount of jail time can undo the very considerable harm done to the victims in this case, but I do hope that these sentences provide them with at least some degree of closure.”