Four men have been arrested as part of a pre-planned intelligence led operation in central London to thwart a smash and grab robbery at Mayfair jewellery store Chronext.
Four Flying Squad officers were injured during the arrest phase of the operation as the gang attempted to flee the scene on two mopeds after bidding to make off with a haul of luxury watches.
At approximately 11:25, the gang smashed their way into the store and attempted to steal a quantity of watches. As they made their way out of the store the Flying Squad officers, who were hiding in the back of the boutique, moved in to arrest them.
The four men then attempted to escape on two mopeds and a Taser was discharged a number of times by Flying Squad officers. As the men attempted to flee, four officers were injured. Two suffered minor injuries; a third officer suffered a laceration injury which required hospital treatment.
A fourth officer remains a serious but stable condition in hospital after he was struck by a moped driven by the suspects as they attempted to flee the scene.
Chronext management told the media that the actions of the police had prevented the theft of millions of pounds worth of high-end watches. They face a £500,000 repair bill for the damage done by the thieves, who used axes to break into display cases.
Chronext chief executive Philipp Man, 25 (below), flew in from Zurich after being informed of the attack and told the Evening Standard: “It’s quite scary knowing you will be robbed in advance. But you could see that these were not professionals… using a machete is pretty medieval.”
All four men were arrested on suspicion of robbery and have been taken to central London police stations. Two axes, a knife and machete were all recovered at the scene. No jewellery or watches were taken by the suspects.
Commander Stuart Cundy said: “Our officers are absolutely committed to keeping London safe and target the criminals who pose a danger to Londoners and our city businesses day in, day out. They know that this work carries with it very real risks and dangers but take this in their stride as part of the serving the public.
“One officer has sustained a serious head injury and a number of broken bones as a result of their dedicated efforts today; the Flying Squad are doing everything they can to support the officers affected at this difficult time. [Yesterday’s] events highlight the determination of Met officers to apprehend violent individuals who pose a threat to both businesses and the public.”
Pictures of the arrests, and the damage caused by the raiders, can be found HERE.