Three hammer-wielding men smashed their way into a Halifax town centre jewellers and terrified staff during a dramatic heist.
The raiders, all wearing balaclavas, drove down the side street in a stolen silver BMW, ran to the security-locked door of Lister Horsfall jewellers, Corn Market, and started hitting it with a sledgehammer.
The men stole 32 Rolex watches and wrecked the security locks of the door and the glass security windows inside the shop, causing around £250,000 worth of damage and loss to the business in the daring raid just as the shop was closing.
Manager Gemma Moody said: “I was just stood in the shop and they came to the door and started hitting it with the sledgehammer.
“They were all wearing balaclavas and it was scary.”
The staff ran to the back of the shop but one of the assistants, Maria Coulson, who is 37 weeks pregnant, tripped over and fell.
“I was trying to pick her up and get her to safety. By the time we managed to get up the stairs, they were gone,” added Mrs Moody.
Nick Horsfall, managing director, said: “They were focused on the Rolex watches and were gone in 30 seconds.
“At the end of the day, they were obviously prepared. We left them to it as our main concern was for Maria after she fell.”
Miss Coulson was taken to hospital as a precaution but returned to work the following day.
Police are investigating the incident which happened on Monday, January 5, at 4.51pm.
The silver BMW car, registration DV63 RMO, was ditched about half a mile away on Arches Street, off West Parade, Halifax, later that evening and another vehicle was seen reversing at speed at 8.12pm.
Detective Sergeant Ross Wadsworth, of Calderdale CID who is investing the raid, said: “I am specifically appealing for anyone who saw the BMW being parked up or subsequently left unattended on Arches Street to get in contact.
“It is quite possible that the car was being driven in a suspicious manner - perhaps being driven very quickly at the time so may have stood out.”
Detectives are linking the armed robbery to a police chase through Halifax.
Witnesses are being urged to come forward who saw a black BMW at Arches Street, where the stolen silver BMW was abandoned.
The black car with a registration AK57 LSU was approached by officers but then sped away from the scene at around 8pm.
A pursuit followed involving the police helicopter and the police dog team where the BMW made off at speed on the opposite side of the road.
The car then stopped in Willow Dene Avenue in Sowerby Bridge where two men jumped from the car and escaped on foot.
Detective Inspector Chris Wood, of Calderdale CID, said all lines of enquiry were being followed and he would like to thank the amount of witnesses who have already come forward.
He also urged anyone who may have any more information to contact the police.
Anyone who may have details about either of the incidents is asked to ring Calderdale CID on 101.