Five arrested in Leicester over 'violent' gem raids

Five people have been arrested in Leicester over a series of high-value robberies on gem dealers across the UK.

Police said the crimes in London, the Midlands and Scotland had netted the gang responsible millions of pounds during the past year.

Four men and a woman, in their 30s and thought to be of South American origin, were arrested by Metropolitan Police officers in Leicester city centre.

The "violent" raids targeted overseas visitors in the UK on business.

Police said the victims had travelled between London and the Midlands. In some cases they had been threatened with a knife.

A large number of the stolen items were taken out of the country and have been traced to the US.

The five people arrested are being held at an undisclosed police station in the Midlands on suspicion of conspiracy to rob.

Detective Sergeant Paul Rodgers, of the Metropolitan Police Service London Crime Squad, said those responsible for the robberies were "an extremely close knit, organised group who had been operating as a surveillance team and spotters in order to select their victims and commit the offence.

"These arrests were as a result of a complex and challenging operation."

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