A man has been sentenced to four years in jail for his role in a smash and grab robbery on Regent Street in 2018.

On Friday, 28 January, Wayne Russell, 23 (11.06.98), of no fixed address, appeared at Southwark Crown Court and was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. He was also sentenced to 16 months for possession of an offensive weapon, to run concurrently.

On 5 June 2018, Russell and five other men, arrived at Watches of Switzerland on Regent Street on three mopeds and a motorcycle.

One of the mopeds was driven through the front doors of the shop, preventing it being closed by security, before three of the men – each armed with a sledgehammer – rushed in.

The men attacked five display cabinets and took 35 Rolex watches, worth a total of around £440,000.

Russell, armed with a large zombie knife, remained outside and acted as a lookout while also stopping security or members of the public intervening.

When the security alarm started going off, the suspects left the shop and all six began to make their getaway on the vehicles.

A passing police unit saw what was happening and chased after the robbers, who all fled in different directions. As police ran towards the bike carrying Russell, he jumped off and fled on foot.

A zombie knife was later recovered on Regent Street.

Officers seized CCTV from the area which showed Russell removing his gloves, putting his jacket in a bin and then walking into Five Guys on Argyll Street.

An image from the footage was circulated as part of a media appeal and in 2020 Russell was identified as a key suspect and later arrested.

One of Russell’s accomplices, Jamie Farrell, 34 (13.06.87) of Havelock Street, Islington, was sentenced in July 2018 to eight years for his role in the incident after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a bladed article. Farrell was detained near the scene following a police chase; while running from officers he also dropped a rucksack containing 11 of the watches.

Detective Sergeant Gary Taylor, from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime, said: “This was a brazen robbery which not only left the store significantly out of profit but also left staff fearing for their lives.

“I hope this result demonstrates our commitment to tackling violent crime and disrupting criminal gangs who think they can get away with this kind of behaviour. We will do everything in our power to identify those involved and bring them to justice so that they can cause no further harm on the streets of the capital.”