Public foils motorcycle jewellery robbers

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The Independent Online

A gang of motorcycle robbers who smashed their way into a jewellery store in broad daylight today were disrupted when members of the public turned on them.

Police were called at 10.40am after five men on three motorbikes carrying sledgehammers tried to smash their way into Ernest Jones on Kensington High Street, west London.



But the gang fled after one of the riders was cornered by passers-by who held him until officers arrived.



Ryan Shipley, 23, an IT worker, said he walked out of Tesco to find three superbikes with five men dressed in black, one riding and one armed with a sledgehammer.



He told the Evening Standard: "The bikes mounted the pavement and the guys with the sledgehammers jumped off and started trying to smash the windows of Ernest Jones.



"A middle-aged builder in a high-vis jacket then pushed one of them and they had a stand-off but the robber threatened him with the sledgehammer to warn him off."



He said passers-by started directing traffic in an attempt to block the bikes, while the riders revved their engines and the men with hammers smashed the shop windows.



Mr Shipley said the last robber dropped his sledgehammer, took off his helmet, and ran off down the back streets, dropping jewellery as he escaped.



He said: "It was surreal, very odd. At first I thought it was some sort of stunt. It was really good how everyone chipped in."



A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Police were called at about 10.40am today to reports of robbery in progress at Ernest Jones jewellers in Kensington High Street.



"At this early stage is it believed five men on three motorbikes armed with hammers were involved in the robbery.



"One male suspect was detained at the scene by members of the public and then arrested by officers.



"Another three males were arrested later on.



"Some items stolen have been recovered.