THREE Italians admitted robbing a British holidaymaker’s £25,000 Rolex after one of the criminals was caught with the timepiece in his bottom cheeks.
The three men were each handed two year suspended prison sentences yesterday after confessing to the violent mugging on the holiday island of Majorca.
One of the trio snatched the victim’s designer watch off her wrist along with her handbag after surprising her from behind as she sat on a bench in a square in the town of Portal Nous eight miles west of the capital Palma.
He made his getaway on a motorbike driven by an accomplice.
Police held them the day after the robbery on September 26 last year as they tried to board a plane to their homeland.
The timepiece was found in one of the mugger’s underpants between his bottom cheeks and returned to its rightful owner, although it is said to have been damaged and needed thousands of pounds worth of repair work.
State prosecutors were demanding three-and-a-half years’ jail for the Italians ahead of yesterday’s hearing at a court in Palma.
They gave evidence via video-link from an island prison where they have been held since their arrest, but were released after admitting wrongdoing and accepting two-year prison sentences which were suspended immediately after their lawyers did a deal with the state prosecutor.
Local reports said they had agreed to pay the victim, who suffered a minor wrist injury, nearly £1,300 in compensation plus the cost of the damage to the Rolex. They paid a small fine before being set free.
Police said last October when they went public with the arrests that they had “smashed a gang specialising in designer watch robberies in tourist areas of Majorca.” The detainees were not named.
A Civil Guard spokesman said at the time: “The suspects travelled to Majorca from the north of Italy to commit the crimes in tourist areas frequented by wealthy holidaymakers.
“Once they selected their victim, they approached them on a moped and snatched their watch from them and assaulted their victim at times until they got what they wanted
“At the same time the Civil Guard were investigating, Spanish National Police were conducting another against the same suspects for the same motive.
“Officers from both organisations detained the three men at Palma Airport as they prepared to leave the island during a joint operation.
“The officers recovered one of the watches that had been stolen which was valued at more than £25,000 and was subsequently returned to its legitimate owner. The three suspects were remanded behind bars.”
It was not immediately clear this morning if the convicted men were facing prosecution over other crimes.
Luxury watch robberies have become an increasing problem in the UK in recent years.
Last July a gang who posed as buyers of valuable timepieces and lured sellers into an ambush before pulling guns on them, were jailed.
Harrow Crown Court heard the criminal trio robbed six men in north London between December 2019 and January 2020.
They contacted the men by responding to online advertisements for Rolexes their victims had posted and arranged to meet them in a public place before luring them to a quieter spot and using guns, crowbars, knives and hammers to take them.
Andre Sinclair, 33, was sentenced to 11 years and 9 months for conspiracy to rob while Ashley King was given nine and a half years.
Layla DaSilva, 33, who had responded to the adverts and initially met the victims was sentenced to four years and nine months.