Smash-and-grab raid at Queen's silversmith

A gang of smash-and-grab robbers raided a landmark branch of the Queen's silversmith today.

Jewellery was snatched from displays at Mappin & Webb at the junction of Old Bond Street and Piccadilly in London's West End.



Witnesses told police several men on motorcycles raced up to the shop and smashed windows with heavy tools before escaping.



Forensic officers were examining the scene today and police have cordoned off a large section of Old Bond Street, famed for its expensive jewellers.



Staff at a nearby bureau de change said the same shop was the victim of a similar raid last year.



Branches of Mappin & Webb have proved a popular target for smash-and-grab gangs who have plagued jewellers in the capital.



The Regent Street store was raided at least three times in 2008. In one attack a Vauxhall Vectra was driven through the front doors and security gates.



In 2006 two teenagers were jailed after stealing goods worth about £26,000 from Mappin & Webb in Fenchurch Street.



The business holds two royal warrants and acts as silversmith to the Queen and Prince Charles.



The groups of thieves responsible have been dubbed "Fagin's Kitchen" gangs after police discovered some members were aged in their early teens.



Goods worth £4 million have been taken as thieves targeted jewellers and other luxury stores. Victims have included Watches of Switzerland, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and Tiffany and Co.



In one raid on the Mozafarian store in Knightsbridge last August, gems worth more than £1m were stolen in less than a minute.



Investigators scored a success last December when six members of one gang were jailed for a total of 22 years.



A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "At approximately 11.20am today police were called to reports of a robbery at a shop in Old Bond Street WC1.



"A number of suspects on motorcycles approached the shop and smashed windows before stealing items.



"Westminster CID are investigating. We have not been informed of any injuries. There have been no arrests and inquiries continue."



No one at Mappin & Webb was available to comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?