Two smartly dressed armed robbers stole jewellery worth almost £40m from a Mayfair jewellers in what is believed to be the biggest gem heist in British history, it emerged today.
Posing as clients, the besuited criminals made their way past a security guard at Graff jewellers in London’s West End last Thursday. Once inside the prestigious New Bond Street shop they pulled out handguns, threatened staff and grabbed luxury rings, bracelets, necklaces and watches.
CCTV footage released today by Scotland Yard shows the duo leaving the jewellers. They fired two warning shots into the ground before escaping in a series of vehicles across Soho.
The extent of the heist was kept secret for nearly a week but police have revealed that the items stolen were worth £40m, dwarfing Britain’s previous biggest diamond jewellery robbery, in 2003, when items worth £23m were stolen, also from Graff’s.
Police also released images of some of the 43 items of stolen jewellery, including a pair of white round diamond double-hoop earrings, a yellow diamond flower necklace, a platinum white Marquise diamond ring and a men’s chronograph 45mm watch.
The robbers’ escape almost came to an abrupt end when their blue BMW crashed into a taxi in a nearby street. They abandoned the car, switching to a silver Mercedes, before changing cars again, climbing into a black vehicle, possibly a Ford Galaxy or VW Sharan.
The men – both well dressed, aged in their 30s and with London accents – are thought to have passed the stolen jewellery to a waiting motorcyclist, who made a quick getaway. At least two other men were acting as getaway drivers in three cars, police believe.
Detective Chief Inspector Pam Mace, of the Metropolitan police flying squad, said: “This was a well planned robbery with a number of vehicles used to help the robbers escape. These men are extremely dangerous and fired at least two shots in busy London streets as they made their getaway.
“Someone knows who these men are. They would undoubtedly have spoken about it beforehand or boasted about it afterwards. I would urge anyone who recognises them, knows the whereabouts of the jewellery or has any other information to contact us.”
The first suspect was described as white, about 30, with a slim build, dark hair with a well-combed side parting, light stubble on his face and between 5ft 10 and 6ft tall. He was wearing a grey suit, white shirt and tie.
The second was described as black, also in his 30s, 6ft tall, more well built than the first suspect, and with very short afro hair. He was also wearing a grey suit, white shirt and tie.
The suspects’ details have been circulated to all ports and airports but police believe they are likely to have organised an escape route and may already have left the country.