Friday, February 5, 2010

City Jeweller Tells Of Violent £900k Raid

A jeweller has told of his ordeal at the hands of two robbers disguised as road workers who robbed him at knifepoint of goods worth more than £900,000.
John Haynes was opening his shop in the City of London when he was targeted by the pair, who sprayed a CS gas-like substance in his face.
He was marched at knifepoint to a safe and ordered to empty several trays of jewellery into a rucksack.
Detectives warned the public that some of the jewellery may be sold as Valentine's Day presents, after as many as 150 items were stolen in the Wednesday morning raid.
Among the pieces taken from the shop on St Michael's Alley, off Cornhill, were a £19,000 aquamarine diamond necklace, a £17,000 platinum ring and a £18,000 18-carat white gold and diamond bracelet with heart-shaped links.
Mr Haynes, 64, described the attack as "violent" and "well-planned".
"These guys rushed in through one of the doors into the shop, an opaque glass door, and knocked me over," he said.
"In almost one movement the man was on top of me and trying to spray my face with a can of something like mace.
"He threatened me and wanted to know where the security equipment was and produced a knife. I was convinced I was going to get cut to make me follow his instructions.
"He forced me through to the safe room and opened the door of the safe. While he was there with his rucksack I tipped all of the jewellery out of the storage trays, boxes and all, into his bag.
"Before he could start rifling another safe the look-out upstairs made some signal to him and he barked at me in a southern Irish brogue to 'Stay here.'
"He had a scarf over his mouth and all I was looking at was a nose and eyebrows."
The men left the shop within minutes and Mr Haynes, whose father founded the store in 1959, pressed a panic alarm.
Police said at least one of the men was dressed in a bright yellow fluorescent trousers and jacket. Detective Inspector Edelle Michaels, who is leading the inquiry, said: "I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area on Wednesday or in preceding days to get in touch.
"There is a chance that the robbers will try to sell these items. I'd ask anyone who is offered jewellery at knock-down prices in the coming days to contact the police.
"As Valentine's Day approaches, it's worth remembering that jewellery stolen at knifepoint is not a romantic gift."
Anyone with information should contact City of London Police on 0207 601 2222 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 1111.


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