A ‘Muslim mum’ helped a gang armed with swords and a sledgehammer to raid a Rusholme jewellery store on Sunday morning leaving business-owners in the area ‘terrified’.
The gang struck Choice Jewellers on Wilmslow Road just after 11.30am when a man wearing a burka and pushing a pram tricked staff into opening security doors before letting in his accomplices.
Terrified staff inside then let off a booby trap as the men, all wearing balaclavas, started smashing up the store and taking merchandise.
ATTACK: The men enter the store with axes raised
Tauqeer Chaudhrey, 40, who owns the nearby Chandni jewellers, told how his friend tried to confront the masked men before they entered the shop only to be threatened with a sword.
“It is terrifying,” he said. “We need to have a police guard on the road all the time.”
Another jeweller, Khalid Mahmood, 58, was equally worried by the day’s events and said that he did not want to open his shop.
SMASHING THE STORE: The men begin to trash the shop
He said: “That’s a very dangerous thing for everybody; we are very scared for that.
“How can we do business?”
“We need more police patrols in this area and everybody should help them – this is happening every couple of years.”
Mr Mahmood, who owns the Bismi store said that he was shaken up he wished he could arm himself against possible future attacks.
ENTERING: A robber follows the burka-wearer in
“We should have a gun,” he said. “Business men should have their own security – jewellery shops at least, so we could save ourselves.
“Somebody could have got killed today [Sunday] and it could save a life.”
However, Rusholme councillor, Ahmed Ali, downplayed the calls while expressing his sympathy for the people in the shop at the time.
“We live in a society which prides itself on not carrying weapons,” he said. “I’d rather have my protection from the police.”
ESCAPE: The men leave with what they have stolen
He added: “My immediate gut feeling is that people in the shop must have been terrified and horrified.
“We can provide a response along the line of police safety and proactively stopping by.
“We should stop this in Rusholme.”
Owner of the Sabah jewellery store, Zubair Ahmed, 23, told how he stopped supplying gold because of the threat of being raided.
ESCORT: The men escort the 'mum' out
“We definitely worry about our shop. At the moment we don’t do gold.
We are shocked today, but that’s why we left gold – it’s too risky nowadays.”
Detective Constable Ian Wrench said: “The men who carried out this frightening robbery need to be caught so I would ask anyone who saw the men either going in or out of the shop to please call us.
“The jewellery stolen is worth quite a lot of money, and the robbers may try to sell it on the black market.
“I would urge anyone who is offered jewellery from anyone other than a licensed dealer to not fall victim by buying these stolen goods.”
RETURNING FOR MORE: Before leaving they smash the window
and take more goods