A gang has raided one of Huddersfield’s oldest and most well-known jewellers.
The four raiders fled with valuable items worth up tens of thousands of pounds from exclusive Walkers Jewellers in Market Walk in Huddersfield town centre.
The shop was Fillans for many years and carried on the tradition of selling high value jewellery.
The thieves fled on motorbikes after smashing a window and grabbing their haul at 4.30pm yesterday.
It was clear each gang member knew their role the moment the audacious raid began.
Det Insp George Bardell from Kirklees CID said: “Four male suspects on Suzuki Bandit bikes approached the premises and two pillion passengers got off.
“One of them, a big man, at least 6ft 2ins tall, began to strike at the shop window with a sledgehammer while the second passenger collected the items into an open rucksack.
“The robbery was witnessed by the shop owner, David Walker, who was sworn at and told to go away when he intervened.
“It was a pretty quick smash and grab raid and was all over in minutes, if not a matter of seconds.
“There is a suggestion that members of the public may have recorded the incident on their mobile phones and we would ask anyone who has such images to get in touch with Det Con Shaun Topham.”
At first it was feared the valued of the haul could be as high as £60,000.
The jewellers confirmed that both Mr Walker and a young staff member who works at the nearby Walkers Jewellers in Market Place were threatened by the gang.
Shop owner Sharron Walker said: “We are just glad that we are all safe and that minimum stock was taken. It won’t be £60,000.
“My husband David was very brave in confronting the robber with the sledgehammer who threatened him and one of our young men at our other store in Market Place, Joseph Metcalfe, was very brave in running round immediately to our assistance.
“Unfortunately, this kind of incident is a horrible part of our trade. We’re embarking on the cleaning up process today (Wed) and not sure at the moment when we will reopen.”
A female member of staff who didn’t want to be named added: “We are all very shaken up and just want these people to be caught.”
Walkers have a national reputation for the quality of their jewellery and have been established since 1852.
They are particularly renowned for their bespoke items and antique jewellery.
Its website states: “At Walker’s jewellers beautiful creations are hand crafted in our onsite workshop. Each item is meticulously designed and made to the most impeccable standard and finest quality. Our style and concept is one of effortless elegance and timeless beauty. We pride ourselves on the ability to create exquisite adornments, selecting the most beautiful diamonds and gem stones and setting them by hand.”
The shop ha s areal old world feel. It was last refitted in 1901 and has a spiral staircase along with elegant black velvet drapes, hand etched glass cabinets and crystal chandelier.