Harrogate armed robbery ‘like something from Crimewatch’ says onlooker

NADV 15030161AM1 A police officer guards the the building used by Montpellier Antiques. Picture : Adrian Murray. (15030161AM1)
NADV 15030161AM1 A police officer guards the the building used by Montpellier Antiques. Picture : Adrian Murray. (15030161AM1)
  • Masked robbers threaten staff with machete and axe
  • High value jewellery stolen from Montpellier Antiques
  • Onlooker says raid only lasted ‘for a minute or so
  • Getaway car found on Glebe Avenue
  • Mobile phone footage passed on to police and second vehicle seized

A Harrogate shop assistant descibed the terrifying moment masked robbers targeted Montpellier Antiques with an axe and a machete as ‘like something from Crimewatch’.

The four masked robbers pulled up to the Montpellier Mews store at around 11.40am on Monday before threatening staff members then making off with high value jewellery.

North Yorkshire Police were quickly alerted to the incident after after a shop assistant saw the getaway car pull up outside the antiques store and three men ‘dressed in black wearing balaclavas’ exited the vehicle.

The shop assistant said the attack only lasted ‘for a minute or so,’ with the driver remaining in the car outside, and believes that the attack had been planned ‘well in advance’.

They said: “Monday is the quietest day in terms of shoppers but they had left it long enough in the morning for the staff to put all the jewellery out in the window. Then it was all over very quick.

“I had to come into town on Tuesday and there were still police searching everywhere. I spoke to the staff that worked there after the police had gone and they were all terrified and shaken up.”

They were all carrying their weapons and it was like something off of crimewatch.”

North Yorkshire Police later confirmed they had found the dark coloured Lexus the suspects used to flee the scene on Glebe Avenue in Harrogate.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Kell of North Yorkshire Police, said: “No-one was injured in the incident however the staff have been shaken up by what happened. I am appealing to anyone who can assist the investigation to contact us as matter of urgency.”

A strong police presence remained in the area the following day as officers confirmed they would continue to carry out ‘reassurance patrols’ following the incident.

Mobile phone footage of the attack has now been passed on to the police but officers are still trying to trace four other witnesses who were in the area at the time, two of whom were looking in the window and turned away as the robbers approached.

A spokesperson for the force said: “Two other people, believed to be a man and a woman were seen pushing a pushchair on the opposite side of the road, they walked past the suspect’s Lexus that was parked nearby as the robbers entered the shop.”

A second vehicle has now been seized which officers believed to be involved in the incident and forensic examination will now take place.

Anyone with information should call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1 and pass information to the Force Control Room.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote reference number 161 of 16 March 2015