Store boss tells of scuffle with raiders

A JEWELLERY store manager today told how he bravely fought with two armed robbers as he tried to protect his staff during a terrifying daylight raid in Ipswich.

A JEWELLERY store manager today told how he bravely fought with two armed robbers as he tried to protect his staff during a terrifying daylight raid in Ipswich.

Trevor Ireland, manager of Robert Gatward jewellers in the Buttermarket, confronted the men who entered the store armed with a hammer.

They smashed a display case and stole what Suffolk police have described as “a substantial amount of watches”.

Mr Ireland was left with bruised hands after he tackled the robbers and tried to force them to leave the shop by pushing them out of the door.

He said: “It was all over in a matter of minutes.

“They came in wearing helmets and I asked them to remove them. I didn't hear any words from them - they just smashed the display case and took the watches.

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“At first I was surprised at what had happened and then I tried to grapple with them. There was a scuffle because I was trying to get them out of the shop.

“It was an instinctive reaction and probably not one I would recommend but you do what your body reacts to.

“I was trying to protect my staff - like a father figure I suppose.

“When I got home later, I felt quite drained.”

It is thought the value of goods stolen, which were mostly ladies Chopard watches, is in the thousands.

The men, who struck at about 3.25pm on Saturday, were eventually forced from the shop and ran to Tower Street where they got on to a dark coloured moped. They were seen riding off toward Tower Ramparts.

Five other staff members were in the shop at the time and were left shaken but uninjured.

Mr Ireland said: “The staff obviously suffered from shock but they will get all the support they need.

“I am just very thankful that no one was injured and that no customers were involved.”

The shop was expected to open for business today as usual.

Both robbers are described as black and 6ft tall. One was wearing a black jacket, black baggy trousers and a black motorcycle helmet.

The other was wearing a blue jacket, light blue trousers and a yellow striped motorcycle helmet.

Anyone who saw the robbery or has information about the men involved should contact Detective Sergeant Bernard Morgan at Ipswich CID on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Did you see Saturday's jewellery store raid? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk .

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