August 11, 2009 / 3:43 PM / 10 years ago

Men sought over huge jewel heist

LONDON (Reuters) - Police released pictures on Tuesday of two men wanted in connection with one of Britain’s biggest ever gem heists — a 40 million pound armed raid on a luxury jewellers in London in which shots were fired.

An image taken from CCTV footage taken August 6, 2009 shows two men that police want to speak to in connection with an armed robbery in central London. REUTERS/Metropolitan police/Handout

The smartly dressed duo went into Graff Jewellers in the upmarket Mayfair district last Thursday afternoon, threatened staff with handguns and briefly took a female member of staff hostage.

They took 43 items — rings, bracelets, necklaces and watches — and fired a shot as they left the premises. The woman was abandoned outside and no one was injured.

Detective said the robbers made their getaway in a blue BMW which they abandoned a few streets away when a second shot was fired into the ground.

The men then switched to a silver Mercedes and in another swap shortly afterwards, some of the suspects got into another black car in a nearby road.

“This was a well planned robbery with a number of vehicles used to help the robbers escape,” said Detective Chief Inspector Pam Mace.

“These men are extremely dangerous and fired at least two shots in busy London streets as they made their getaway.”

Media reports said the raid was thought to be Britain’s biggest such heist.

In 2003, an international gang of robbers carried out a 23 million pound diamond armed raid at Graff’s.

Two members of the Eastern European crime syndicate were later jailed for 20 years for their role in the raid.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison

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