Gumtree robbers jailed for �30k jewellery raid on Highbury flat

TWO teenage thugs who robbed a dealer of �30,000 worth of jewellery in an armed raid on his home have been jailed for nine years each.

Crystiyan Balkanski and accomplice Mustafa Dahir, both 19, set up a fake ring purchase with victim Murat Yusuf through the Gumtree social networking web site before four thugs stormed his flat in Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury.

Mr Yusuf, 26, was pistol-whipped and tied up with his girlfriend Mary Petty. “All three were hitting me,” he told Blackfriars Crown Court.

“They said repeatedly: ‘The gun’s loaded and we’ll shoot you.’”

The heist was set up by Balkanski who contacted the dealer in early June last year and met him at his flat with Dahir arranging another rendezvous for June 12.

After arriving that day, Dahir ducked outside to summon back-up on his mobile phone.

The victim was pistol-whipped and had a jacket put over his head. His girlfriend was tied up in the bedroom while Balkanski, Dahir and two other suspects helped themselves to rings and bracelets, mobile and home phones and around �1700 in cash and credit cards.

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Balkanski was traced from mobile phone records and Dahir, who left a trail of blood when he was injured in the raid, was traced from DNA and a finger print on the front door.

He had a previous conviction for robbery and was on the police crime database.

The teenagers were arrested on July 14 but the property was never recovered and they refused to name their accomplices.

Judge David Martineau said the pair had admitted a “particularly serious offence involving a considerable amount of violence – the whole experience must have been painful and they must have been terrified”.

Balkanski, of Lancing Gardens, Enfield, and Dahir, of Somerset Close, Wood Green, each admitted two counts of robbery, Dahir admitting a further two counts of possessing an imitation firearm at the time of committing an indictable offence.

They will each begin their sentences in a young offenders’ institute.

Detective Sergeant Al Watson, of Islington police, said:” This was a terrifying and traumatic ordeal for the victims and they must both be commended for their bravery in giving evidence. I hope that the sentences that Balkanski and Dahir received will help them to move on with their lives and send out a clear message that police in Islington will pursue violent criminals and bring them to justice.”