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Ashley Cole among high-profile targets for ‘ruthlessly executed’ burglaries

Ashley Cole file photo
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Thousands of pounds of items were stolen from footballers Ashley Cole and Tom Huddlestone by violent robbers in a series of “ruthlessly executed” burglaries, a court has heard.

Kurtis Dilks is alleged to have robbed former England defender Cole and his partner Sharon Canu of watches, mobile phones, cash, a Gucci bag, headphones and a BMW smart key during a break-in at their home in January 2020.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Dilks is also accused of being part of a six-strong gang who allegedly stole the £3.75million Portland Tiara from the Welbeck Estate in 2018. The tiara was worn to the coronation of Edward VII.

Tom Huddlestone File Photo

Tom Huddlestone’s home was targeted while he played a match for Derby (Martin Rickett/PA)

Prosecutors said the theft of the tiara, previously described as a “national treasure”, was a “shocking event” and it will never again be seen in its original state.

Opening the case against 11 defendants on Monday, prosecutor Michael Brady QC told jurors the home of former Tottenham midfielder Huddlestone was targeted in a “well-planned operation” while he was playing a match for Derby.

Dilks, Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald are accused of conspiring to rob Huddlestone’s wife, Joanna Dixon, of £500,000 of jewellery and handbags, including her wedding and engagement rings.

Jurors were told robbers tied Ms Dixon’s hands behind her back with cable ties, with one allegedly saying: “Don’t make this difficult, we don’t want to manhandle you.”

Kurtis Dilks

Kurtis Dilks, pictured, is alleged to have robbed the home of Ashley Cole in January 2020 (Jacob King/PA)

Beginning his opening speech to the jury, Mr Brady said: “These defendants were to a greater or lesser extent involved in a series of extremely serious, high-profile, carefully planned and at times ruthlessly executed burglaries and violent robberies.

“Dilks continued this pattern when he was involved in the robberies of Ashley Cole, the footballer, and his partner Sharon Canu in January 2020.

“The presence of householders did not deter these defendants.

“They were armed with weapons and the means to subdue them.

“The presence of children did not perturb them.”

Tevfik Guccuk

Jurors were told that property stolen during the burglaries and robberies was passed to professional handlers Tevfik Guccuk, pictured right, and Sercan Evsin, pictured left (Jacob King/PA)

Mr Brady told jurors that property stolen during the burglaries and robberies was passed to professional handlers Tevfik Guccuk and Sercan Evsin, who were tasked with selling the items.

The Crown’s QC said: “Those responsible for this part of what was highly sophisticated criminal offending, Evsin and Guccuk, operated an ostensibly legitimate jewellery business in Hatton Garden.

“Such was the value and conspicuous nature of some of the items stolen that it was not possible to sell them in the UK.

“The inference to be drawn from the evidence is that at times the property had to be disposed of abroad.”

The Portland Tiara

The Portland Tiara (Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

Addressing the theft of the tiara, Mr Brady said: “Stolen during the burglary were two pieces of diamond-encrusted jewellery, the Portland Tiara and an associated brooch, with a combined value of approximately £3,750,000.

“The tiara and brooch formed part of the Portland Collection. It is difficult to overstate the importance and cultural value of these pieces of jewellery.”

The defendants deny all charges. The trial continues.

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