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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Diamond Raid in Style, Bentley Buggers Boys from Graff !!

Diamond robbers arrived at Knightsbridge jewellers in chauffeur-driven Bentley

They arrived at one of London's finest jewellers in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, looking every inch a pair of well-heeled shoppers.

But once inside, the two smartly dressed, middle-aged men - one wearing a distinctive Panama hat - threatened staff at gunpoint and made off with a multi-million-pound haul of more than 100 pieces.

Among the items taken was a necklace decorated with 270 diamonds - with a collective weight of more than 155 carats - which alone is worth more than £1million.

The pair were allowed into the Sloane Street store by a security guard who believed they were genuine customers after they pulled up outside in a dark-blue Bentley Continental Flying Spur worth £118,000.

After brandishing silver handguns and forcing staff to lie face-down on the floor, they stole rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

Images of the robbers have been released by Flying Squad officers investigating the raid on Graff Diamonds in Knightsbridge.

Detective Sergeant Sarah Staff appealed for witnesses to come forward and the store put up a £500,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

She said: "This was a very unusual robbery. The way they were dressed and how they used the Bentley shows there was some detailed planning and some very meticulous execution.

"They appear to have taken some significant pieces of jewellery, but really all the pieces which are available in that store are of very significant value."

A senior member of staff at the jewellers described the moment the robbers struck.

The 51-year-old was in the shop with two other male staff when the robbers came in last Thursday, just after 5pm. One asked to look at a piece of jewellery and as a member of staff put a key into the display cabinet they were all threatened with guns.

The staff member, who did not want to be named, said: "They made everyone get down on the floor and lie face down.

"One of my colleagues was asked to give him the key to the showcase. They pushed him towards various showcases and they took items from there."

He added: "We just wanted to comply because you never know what would happen. They said: 'Lie down and do as we tell you or we will put one on you.'

"We were shaken at the time and obviously very upset. You would never know them from regular clients. They looked the part and knew what they were doing."

One suspect is described as 5ft 10in, and wore a beige suit with a dark-coloured tie. He was aged about 55 and of stocky build. The other, who was wearing the Panama hat, was 6ft 1in and aged about 40. He also wore a dark blazer and light-coloured trousers.

After the robbery the two men are believed to have left on foot, in the direction of Harriet Street, which is opposite the store.

On Thursday officers will leaflet the area to appeal for information. International diamond houses have been notified, as has the Gemological Institute of America.

In 2003 Graff's Mayfair branch was the site of one of Britain's biggest robberies, with 47 pieces of jewellery worth £23 million stolen.

Anyone with information about last week's raid should contact police on 020 7230 8666, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Art Hostage comments:

What is the likelihood of someone calling crimestoppers with information for free?

A collection of stolen Ice worth upwards of £10 million is underworld currency par excellence.

However, with the Scotland Yard Flying Squad on the case, there could be result?

One to watch !!

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