Armed robbery latest: Berridges jeweller tells of staff’s terror as gunman bursts into shop

A JEWELLERY shop owner today told how a gunman burst into his high-class town centre store and threatened staff before committing a robbery.

The armed raid took place at Berridges in Dial Lane, Ipswich, at around 9.30am yesterday.

The shop’s co-owner, Chris Hardman, said: “Just as we were opening up somebody came in brandishing a handgun. All the staff were very shocked and surprised.

“The man just said ‘get me the jewellery out of the window’ or words to that effect.

“It was very frightening for the staff.”

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The raider escaped on foot with what was described as a quantity of jewellery, although the exact details of what was stolen has not been revealed.

After leaving the store the robber fled by running through the lane next to St Lawrence’s Church, which is opposite Berridges, before disappearing from view.

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No one was injured during the raid.

The armed robber is described as white, believed to be Eastern European, aged in his mid 20s, 5ft 8ins to 5ft 10ins, of slim build, and with a gaunt face.

He was wearing a dark-coloured wig, dark-coloured sunglasses, blue jeans, and a dark, hooded top with the hood up and a peaked cap underneath.

Police said they were trawling closed circuit television footage yesterday in their hunt for the armed robber.

Detective Sergeant Darren Bruce, who is leading the police investigation said: “I am keen to hear from anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area of Berridges yesterday morning or in recent mornings between 9am and 9.30am, or who has any information that could help us locate the offender.”

Although Berridges was closed during the early part of the morning, Mr Hardman said the store would reopen for business after police had left the premises.

Speaking about the robbery, Mr Hardman added: “It’s an occupational hazard, but it’s one of those things. It is something you are aware of, but it is also something that happens only once or twice in a lifetime.”

Mr Hardman’s wife and co-owner, Angela, said: “It’s extremely disappointing when you are trying to run a business.”

Berridges has been the target of armed robbers once before, when it was raided in October 2003.

Any witnesses, or anyone with any information about the robbery, should telephone Det Sgt Bruce at Ipswich CID on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

n Is enough being done to tackle gun crime in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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