A Wiltshire-based jewellery store owner has spoken out after thieves stole almost £100,000 worth of stock during a raid last month.
John Watling, co-owner of Watling Goldsmiths in Lacock, told the Wiltshire Times that “petrified” staff locked themselves into a back office on Wednesday, 23 March, when four men armed with a sledgehammer and crowbar burst into the store.
The men – all in balaclavas and dressed in black – pulled up outside the shop in East Street at 10am in a white Ford Cougar. Three of the men entered the shop and smashed cabinets, before leaving less than three minutes later with sacks of jewellery.
Watling told the Wiltshire Times: “It is a personal second generation business here and really you feel a little violated when something like this happens.
“The amount they took is significant but if this were a jewellers in London you could have two or three items worth the same as the total of what has been taken here.
“There were three members of staff working. The first guy that came in threatened the young woman who ran off through to the back. Another member of staff was there and they then locked themselves in to keep safe and raised the alarm.”
It is believed that Wiltshire Police recovered the getaway car, which was carrying false licence plates, shortly afterwards.
Watling, who was passed down the family company 25 years ago alongside his sister, added that the thieves were “not very proficient” and a “little clumsy.”
Anyone with information has been urged to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.