Jewellery store raiders wore paper suits

ARMED robbers who raided an upmarket jewellery store are thought to have donned police-style white paper suits used by crime scene officers.

Laurence Cawley

ARMED robbers who raided an upmarket jewellery store are thought to have donned police-style white paper suits used by crime scene officers.

Police have told how staff at Thurlow Champness in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, were left “traumatised” after two men of Middle Eastern appearance robbed the shop armed with a long-handled axe and a sledgehammer.

The men smashed up the glass displays and fled, with a third man, in a VW Golf which was later found abandoned in a car park in Hatter Street. It is believed the robbers then got into a white medium-sized hatchback car in College Lane, driven by a fourth man.

The police have called on the public for help after it emerged the men might have been wearing white paper suits - the type used by the police's own officers to avoid contaminating a crime scene.

It is understood the disposable suits prevent wearers from leaving their own forensic evidence, such as skin or hair, behind at a crime scene.

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The police have asked residents in the area to be on the lookout for the suits as well as a number of other items including balaclavas, gloves and the keys to the VW Golf.

Thurlow and Champness yesterday opened for business shortly after 9.30am and staff involved in the incident, although shaken, were otherwise unharmed.

A spokeswoman for the police said: “We can't be sure exactly what type of white suits the offenders were wearing, we have differing descriptions from witnesses, so it is possible they were paper suits, possibly boiler suits, we don't know.

“We would urge anyone seeing these men in all-in-one suits to get in touch, or anyone finding anything of this nature discarded.

She confirmed the BMW “may well have been left in a bid to block the road” and said items were stolen from the shop, though was unable to state what those items were.

Det Sgt Stuart Sowerby said: “This type of offence is very rare in Bury St Edmunds, and dozens of officers responded to the robbery very quickly to comfort traumatised staff and search the area and routes out of the town, assisted by the force helicopter.

“A number of those officers will be in the town centre for the next few days, carrying out enquiries and providing reassurance. We will be viewing CCTV from the town centre and speaking to witnesses.

“We want to hear from anyone who may have seen people or vehicles acting suspiciously over the past week around the jewellers on Abbeygate Street, or along the route the offenders took away from the scene along Hatter Street, Churchgate Street, Whiting Street and College Lane. We also want to hear from anyone who may have found anything the offenders may have left behind along this route or on their way out of Bury.

“Whilst the BMW and Golf have been recovered, the third white car has not, so I would appeal for anyone who may have seen this car in Bury St Edmunds yesterday, or has noticed a white car appear on their street which is unfamiliar, to come forward.”

Anyone with any information about the most recent incident should contact Bury CID on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.