It was rather disturbing to see in the mainstream news this week that Glasgow’s iconic Argyll Arcade – populated with a string of quality jewellers – had been targeted by armed men wielding axes. It was worse to discover that their haul totalled some £250,000 worth of watches.
Images circulating online showed axe damage to windows, a smoke filled arcade and the masked men causing havoc amongst innocent, shocked passersby. The men actually attempted to rob four stores, with Rox bearing the brunt of the attack. The bid to rob Mappin & Webb, Laings and Lewis Grant appears to have failed.
In any case, I have deep sympathy for the owners of these shops. One imagines they are in possession of some heavy-duty insurance policies, but the promise of a payout does not really mitigate all of the damage that is done in an episode like this. The frightened staff, the intensified feeling of vulnerability working in a shop containing so many valuable items, and the stress and headache of getting the insurance to pay out. Who knows what the excess is for a policy in that particular location, where the concentration of high value items is so high.
It serves as a reminder to all independents throughout the UK that the more comprehensive the insurance cover and the higher-grade the security glass, the better. Raids like this are not carried out by opportunists: it is clear that these men, strapped as they were with smoke grenades, axes and a getaway car, premeditated the attack. No-one knows when such attacks are likely to happen, or where.