Robbers hurl watches at police
Published 04/08/2010 | 11:08
Smash and grab robbers hurled stolen watches worth tens of thousands of pounds at police as they were chased from the scene of a £500,000 raid.
Officers were called to the Bentall Centre, Kingston, south-west London, in the early hours of Wednesday after a gang of men armed with sledgehammers smashed their way through glass panel doors of Fraser Hart jewellers.
Watches manufactured by Rolex, Cartier, Breitling, Bulgari, Gucci and Chanel were taken. Several officers pursued the suspects and were pelted with stolen watches. Two men were eventually arrested in Sandy Lane, Sutton, and two others were arrested in Cecil Road, Wimbledon, several hours later.
Police believe the men may be linked to a larger criminal gang responsible for series of similar raids across the capital.
Thieves dubbed "Fagin's kitchen" gangs, because they often include teenagers controlled by an older crime boss, have plagued police and retailers.
Wearing helmets and armed with heavy tools they use mopeds to ride close to shop windows and escape quickly through often heavy traffic. Goods worth more than £4 million have been taken as thieves targeted Watches of Switzerland, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and Tiffany and Co.
In May, thieves made off with jewellery worth around £1 million from the Westfield centre in Shepherd's Bush, west London. Sledgehammers were used to break into the complex and branches of De Beers and Tiffany & Co. Detective Constable Ron Harvey, of the Kingston burglary squad, said a large quantity of watches were recovered.
Four men aged 21, 26, 32 and 23 were being questioned on Wednesday at Kingston Police Station.