A robber wore a burka as a disguise to carry out a raid on a jewellery shop, police said today.
The cross-dressing criminal used the black head-to-toe garment, favoured by some Muslim women, along with a hijab or face veil, showing only his eyes, to hide his identity.
Owners of the jewellers in Bury, Greater Manchester thought the six foot tall robber was a woman and allowed him entry.
But as soon as he was buzzed in three men barged in behind him - one brandishing a shotgun.
They raided the shop stealing a large amount of bangles, rings and lockets, before escaping in a waiting car, thought to be a silver Toyota Yaris.
Police are now hunting five men, all Asian, thought to be involved in the raid, which took place at about 4.15pm yesterday at Capri Jewellers on Benson Street in Bury.
The offender dressed as a woman is described as Asian, over 6ft tall and of thin build.
The getaway driver is described as Asian, in his early 20s, of chubby build. He was bald and wearing glasses.
The other three offenders are described as Asian and were wearing balaclavas.
The gang left behind two holdalls that were branded Wei Bao.
Det Sgt Chris Jameson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "The store has very tight security so the ruse used to gain entry shows a level of detailed planning and I want to hear from anyone who may have overheard the gang preparing for this robbery.
"I would also urge anyone who knows the whereabouts of the getaway car or who may have been approached with a view to buying the stolen items to call police.
"All information will be treated in strict confidence."
In western Europe wearing of the burka or face-coverings in public has stirred controversy with some countries considering or imposing a ban on the dress.
Muslims say the burka is a part of their religious culture and such state interference is evidence of prejudice against their faith.