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Serial thief convicted of trying to steal Andy Carroll’s £22,000 watch

Convicted burglar O’Brien was found guilty of attempted robbery.

A serial thief who attempted to rob Premier League striker Andy Carroll of his £22,000 wristwatch in a drive-by heist has been jailed for 11 years.

Motorbike-riding Jack O’Brien, 22, swooped on the England player’s Jeep Wrangler near Hainault, north-east London, as he was driving home from West Ham’s training ground last year.

He was found guilty of attempted robbery following a trial at Basildon Crown Court.

In a victim impact statement Carroll, who believed the defendant had a gun, said he “feared for his life” and now travels to and from training with security guards.

O’Brien, of Navarre Gardens, Romford, east London, was given a sentence of 11 years and three months for the attempted robbery on November 2 and a previous “campaign of burglaries”.

Judge John Lodge told him: “I have no doubt at all in saying that by reason of the planning of that sophisticated offence, the length of time that you pursued that vehicle, and that you were again using your motorcycle equipment as a disguise, you are at the very top of the bracket of culpability.”

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Jack O'Brien has been convicted of attempting to rob Premier League striker Andy Carroll of his £22,000 wristwatch (Met Police/PA)

O’Brien, who changed into an olive green turtleneck jumper between the verdict and sentencing, yelled “I never done it” as he was led down from the dock.

The defendant was found hiding below a mattress at a property in Dagenham, east London, when police went to arrest him 10 days after the botched robbery.

The 6ft 4in striker told the court the motorcycle driver approached his camouflage green vehicle and said: “Nice watch.” As he went to drive off, the man said: “Give me your watch.”

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Andy Carroll gave evidence twice, once in person and once by video link (PA Wire)

Carroll told the court he then did a U-turn, but was pursued by two motorbike drivers.

The judge said: “I have no doubt that you targeted Mr Carroll, hoping to taking his watch from him. You anticipated that he would give up his watch and he did not. But you didn’t give up – you gave pursuit to his vehicle.

“You have heard from the 999 telephone call he was in some fear because by that stage you were purporting to threaten him with a gun and he had no idea if it was an imitation gun, an actual gun or whether you were just pretending.”

He was sentenced to five years and three months for five other burglaries, three attempted burglaries and handling stolen goods between September and November 2016, which he previously admitted.

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Andy Carroll is yet to play for West Ham this season because of injury (Adam Davy/PA)

For the attempt on Carroll, he was sentenced to an additional six years.

Referring to the footballer’s victim impact statement Simon Gladwell, prosecuting, told the court: “Obviously we heard this in evidence, he says that he feared for his life, that he honestly believed he had a gun and talks about how he now has two security guards to pick him up from training.”

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