Five men accused of conspiring to steal “huge” sum of money from elderly businessman using “bogus police”
Five men conspired to rob an elderly businessman in order to steal a “huge” amount of money in a raid by bogus police, prosecutors said.
The alleged victim was a “very wealthy” retired manager of a family butcher’s business, aged 80.
Prosecutors said he was seen as a “soft target” for suspected thieves, who allegedly believed “a huge amount of money” would be at his home or business.
The alleged plot was uncovered by police after the installation of eavesdropping devices at South Manchester Plastics, a company located in an industrial yard in Openshaw.
Prosecutors claim it was a “front for crime.”
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Gary Betts, 57, Gerard Boyle, 52, Christopher Sammon, 32, his brother John Sammon 35, and Wayne Simmons, 39, all deny a conspiracy to burglarize in a Manchester court trial.
Jurors heard that one of the tapes obtained by the police included a “frightening” conversation in which the businessman was “tortured”.
It is claimed that Mr. Betts spoke of “cutting an ear” and “using a blowtorch on his testicles”.
He also reportedly spoke of “how badly an iron placed on someone’s chest can hurt”.
Continuing, Mark Rhind QC said Mr Boyle, Mr Betts and Christopher Sammon were arrested at South Manchester Plastics ahead of the alleged theft, which was reportedly scheduled for May 11 last year.
They allege the men recruited Mr. Simmons because he had associates with fake police uniforms, which could be used to conduct a mock police raid on the businessman.
He had previously been the victim of a crime, including having more than £ 200,000 in cash stolen from his home during a burglary, and being attacked and stolen from his Mercedes after returning home after doing his errands.
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“It made them think there were rich choices available, especially if he could be forced to tell them where all the money was hidden,” Rhind said.
The suspected thieves conspired to use Mr Simmons’ associates from outside the region, who would claim they were from the Flying Squad and had a warrant to search his home, prosecutors said.
Jurors heard that the family was “visibly” wealthy and that her son drove a Lambourghini.
“They clearly believed that by using violence and guns they could get their hands on a huge amount of money, which they thought they were keeping at home and on their business premises,” Rhind said.
Jurors should hear that defendants describe the conversations as “drunken boasting” or as a way to “grow up”.
Mr Rhind said: “The prosecution record is that these conversations were not fantasy or bravado, although there was some exaggeration in what was being discussed.
“The charge is that these were serious conversations.”
The court heard that the National Crime Agency installed secret listening devices at South Manchester Plastics, of which Mr Boyle was the director, and made observations in April and May of last year.
Officers did not witness any legitimate trade and there was no plastic or machine to handle plastics on site when police raided it, jurors heard.
Gary Betts, of Rye Bank Road, Stretford; Gerard Boyle, of Eleanor Road, Chorlton; Christopher Sammon, of Moorcroft Drive, Burnage; John Sammon, also of Moorcroft Drive, Burnage, and Wayne Simmons, of Lorne Gardens, London, all deny the existence of a theft plot.