Update: police recover Mercedes used in King’s Lynn armed robbery - search continues for BMW
22:18 31 January 2012
Aggressive gang used sledge hammers on town centre jewellery store - vehicle found in North Lynn
Police have found the Mercedes used by armed robbers in King’s Lynn today and issued descriptions of the men they are looking for.
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The silver vehicle was found in Pilot Street, North Lynn, after a jewellery shop was raided by a gang of men wielding sledge hammers. Police are now looking for a silver BMW which they believe was also involved.
Witnesses have spoken of fear and confusion as armed robbers struck at a King’s Lynn town centre jewellers this morning.
Members of the public were shouted at by the ‘aggressive’ hooded men who struck at Francis Wain in Norfolk Street at around 9.45am.
They took sledge hammers to the shop windows before speeding away towards Austin Street, and police have said firearms were reported at the scene.
Shoppers were shouted at by members of the gang of robbers, who all wore hoodies and had their faces covered. They used smoke canisters to block CCTV images of the pedestrianised street as the robbery was taking place.
“Some people were running away, others screamed and some stood still while it happened - it was unbelievable really. The men were really aggressive and shouting, but it was all over in a minute,” eye witness David Blackmore.
Paramedics were called to tend a woman who collapsed in the street - it’s believed as a result of the shock and smoke which the robbers released.
“I had just put our sign outside when this van came speeding round the corner and pulled up outside the store. I thought he was going a bit quick and then I saw the smoke but it took a minute for it to sink in,” said Elliott Kempton, assistant manager at the 3G store opposite the jewellers.
“They had sledge hammers and were hitting the windows and they let off smoke, it was really quick. I locked the doors and called the police,” he added.
Witnesses spoke of running for cover and a number of them gathered in Cafe Nero, in Norfolk Street, and watched what was happening from behind the door.
“Some just stood, others tried to get the registration number of the van and some were screaming. It was frightening - you really don’t expect it in King’s Lynn,” said Mr Blackmore.
“They were all wearing white hoodies and jumped out. There was a sound a bit like a muffled explosion - it was the glass going. The men were using smoke and pumping it everywhere - they were shouting at people on the street,” he added.
“It was really quick and we saw it happen outside our window. It must have been awful for the people in the store,” said Chris McKenna, shift manager at Subway, next to Francis Wain.
“You just don’t expect it - there was smoke everywhere,” he added.
Detective Inspector Stuart Chapman from Lynn CID said: “Our enquiries continue and we’d appeal for anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the area prior to the incident and also immediately after to call us. We are particularly interested in a silver coloured BMW that was seen in convoy with the offending vehicle around the area of the town centre prior to and after the incident, we are currently looking at CCTV footage, as well as carrying out forensic enquiries and taking statements from various witnesses.”
Police have described the men they are hunting:
The first man is 6ft tall, slim build with grey two piece tracksuit and hood, white scarf covering his face.
The second male is described as 5ft 8ins to 5ft 10ins, of average build, wearing a black long sleeved hoodie, with a grey short sleeved T-shirt over the top. He was also wearing black trainers with white soles and was carrying a small JD sports bag.
Information should be given to officers by phoning 101.