Article by: James Gregory: One person is in custody after the window of a Billericay jewellers was smashed in an attempted ram raid in Billericay today (January 31).
Four men attempted to raid Coleby's Jewellers on Billericay High Street by ramming their mopeds into the store at around 11.30am.
The front of the store was then hit with what is believed to be a sledgehammer by one of the group.
Neighbouring hair salon, LJR Hair and Beauty, also had its shop front smashed by the gang.
Several police vehicles were at the scene, and a forensics team was brushing down the mopeds used in the ram raid for DNA. Blood was seen spattered on the jewellers' window.
Coleby's Jewellers celebrated their 25th anniversary only two days ago.
What was the local reaction?
We were live at the scene earlier today and spoke to local residents and traders in the area.
According to eye-witness reports, some claim that a van driver tried to stop the aggravated burglary by pulling in front of them.
One passer-by said that her neighbour had witnessed the whole event.
The woman, who did not wished to be named, said:
"My next door neighbour was here at the time of the incident. He said three people came up on bikes and he was crossing the other side of the road. There was one of them trying to put their bike into Coleby's and then a van went into them to try and stop them. They didn't get anything and three of them raced away on one motorbike leaving the other two bikes behind. It amazes me they did it in full view of everyone. I've never seen anything like it before."
One newsagents' worker said that they were told to call the police by a passer-by. She said:
"We didn’t see anything but someone ran into our shop to say you better phone the police as the jewellers is smashed in."
Another anonymous trader nearby said:
"We heard the alarm go off and saw two mopeds."
Essex Police issue statement
A spokesperson for Essex Police said:
"We are in the early stages of an investigation into an aggravated burglary at a jewellers in High Street, Billericay today (Wednesday, January 31). We were called shortly after 11.30am with reports that four people on mopeds had attempted to break in into the property. One moped was rammed into the door, and the front of the store was then smashed with what may have been a sledgehammer. The front of the neighbouring hair salon was also damaged. The group were then reported to have left the scene. One person is currently in custody in connection with the incident. Enquiries are ongoing. "
Anyone who witnessed the raid or has any information is urged to call Basildon CID on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Video on scene
Essex Live were on scene after the police had cordoned off the area.
Article by James Gregory, EssexLive