Raids at shops in London, Birmingham and Bristol after night of riots.
Jewellery retailers are counting the heavy costs this morning after a night of unbelievable rioting across the UK.
As gangs took to the streets looting and burning buildings, jewellery shops became a target for opportunistic thieves.
The violence started in Hackney in London last night where police had shut down local streets as they tried to contain rioters. A group of young men were seen ripping the shutter off a jewellery shop on Hackney’s Mare Street while an alarm rang out loudly from a second. A pair of silver cufflinks still in their presentation box were left strewn in the gutter. Other yobs were seen smashing though the window of a Hackney jeweller.
Riots then began to spread to south London. On Lewisham’s Lee South Road a jeweller was looted by gangs running riot in the streets.
A pawnbroker on Harlesden High Street in the north of the city was ransacked by a masked gang that smashed through the window, cutting themselves in the process. The thieves then grabbed the jewellery displays.
On Rye Lane in Peckham a gang of 30 youths forced open the metal grill of a jewellers before smashing their way inside.
London’s Enfield was another hot spot for crime. Eye witnesses reported a jewellery shop being “cleaned out” by “a plague of locusts” there.
One report from a London scene claims that diamonds were seen strewn across the floor of a jewellery shop as it was ransacked.
A jewellery shop was smashed up on Beckinham High Street, with the owner spotted picking through the remains of his shop, while in Clapham rioters outside Debenhams were filmed saying "let’s get some watches, boys".
But the raids spread outside of London with crime reported in other cities including Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool.
In Birmingham gangs of youths centred around the Bullring Shopping Centre. Images show one looter taking a flying kick to smash through the window of a Pandora concept store in Birmingham’s Bullring Centre. Unconfirmed reports claim that staff were trapped inside the Pandora store for two hours as they hid from looters.
There were reports last night that the gangs were planning to head for the city’s Jewellery Quarter although there has been no confirmed reports of violence there and a representative of the area said that "everything is normal this morning in the Jewellery Quarter".
In Bristol the Thomas Sabo shop in Cabot Circus was looted. The shop window was completely smashed and jewellery was stolen. Thomas Sabo store manager Stewart White said: "I think we were just an easy target; big windows and probably the just first shop they saw. Jewellery in the window, beautiful looking stuff, so I think we were just an easy hit."
Meanwhile, G Mantella, which was caught up in earlier disturbances in Enfield as reported yesterday, has estimated that it has lost £40,000 of stock in the raids. Owner Eral Mehmet has spoken out to press of his disgust.
Mehmet said: "They smashed it all up and took everything in the front which was mainly watches. It’s probably worth around £40,000. We have been here since 8pm last night when the alarm went off. We had thought it was secure because we saw the police on TV. Now I understand there were around 80 or 90 people around the shop. It was on Twitter to come to Enfield town.
"I’m pretty disgusted really. When we arrived on the scene last night there were lots of youths running through Enfield Grammar School. It was like a battlefield with broken bricks all over the road."
Tottenham jewellery shop owner Steve Moore met with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg as he assessed the damage done to Tottenham High Road. Talking of his store, Moore said: "I’m devastated, it’s completely gone. My shop just doesn’t exist any more."
Has your jewellery or watch business been affected by the riots? Email us your story and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org