A GANG of thieves armed with axes, hammers and machetes carried out a daylight raid on a luxury jewellers in the centre of Edinburgh yesterday.
Witnesses said three masked men, dressed in black, burst into the Hamilton and Inches store on George Street around 11:45am. The company holds a royal warrant from the Queen.
The robbers fled in a white BMW 3-series saloon driven by a fourth man who had blocked in a female shopper’s car, parked outside the shop.
They escaped carrying holdalls and necklace presentation stands with the jewellery still on them. Police later recovered the car, which was seen speeding along George Street, Howe Street and Heriot Row.
Detectives are appealing for witnesses.
A female staff member was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with minor injuries. Glass could be seen strewn on the floor of the shop and a window display had been smashed.Price tags with no items attached ranged from £3,000 to £9,000 and a silver candlestick was lying on its side.
A £64,000 Patek Phillipe and a £50,000 Rolex Oyster Perpetual were among a number of watches left untouched.
Ross Haston, commercial director at the shop said: “Obviously, it’s a very serious incident and there’s a lot of damage inside.
“I can’t comment on what has been stolen – our only concern is for the safety of our colleagues.”
Eyewitness Faith Golding, who was blocked in by the getaway driver, said she saw the gang make off. She said: “I was parked up outside when a white BMW came and blocked me in. I got out my car and mouthed for the guy to move but he was there for about three minutes. I couldn’t get out.
“I had no idea that anything was happening in the shop, there was no commotion outside.
“Three masked men then came out – one of them carrying a large axe and the other two had machetes. They had bags and some necklace presentation stands with the necklaces still on. I saw them drop one of the necklaces on the street. They got into the car which was blocking me in and drove off.
“I went into the shop and everything had been smashed up. A female member of staff had been pushed over and had banged her head.”
Ms Golding added there had been about two or three customers in the shop when the robbery took place. Gaynor Turner, from nearby jewellers Macintyres of Edinburgh, said the robbery was worrying. She said: “We had our own attempted robbery last year, where two thieves tried to break in through our roof in the middle of the night.
“Luckily, a security guard saw them and chased them away but they left behind their bags and harnesses.”
She added: “They’re lovely people [at Hamilton’s] and my heart goes out to them. It’s not about what’s been taken, it’s about staff morale and the fear this kind of violent robbery leaves behind.”
Last year, around £730,000 of items were stolen from Rox jewellery store in George Street. Elliot Jorgensen, 25, and Anthony Boyd, 25, later pleaded guilty to the robbery.