Traumatic impact of armed robbery on St Neots jewellers
- Credit: HUNTS POST
A jeweller has told of the "traumatic" impact of an armed robbery where thugs wielding sledgehammers smashed their way into his shop in St Neots town centre.
Paul Goldstraw, of Goldstraw Goldsmiths, said staff had been terrified by the attack in which a "significant" amount of jewellery, including irreplaceable items belonging to customers, had been taken in the raid.
He was particularly upset because his 10-year-old granddaughter had been in the shop when thieves struck on December 6 as staff closed for the day.
But Mr Goldstraw, who founded the family business 40 years ago, said they had been "overwhelmed" by the support from the community, including customers who had lost items of great sentimental value.
"It was awful, but we have had hundreds of messages from people offering their support and sympathy, which is very humbling," Mr Goldstraw said.
"Everyone's first concern was that the staff were all right, even those who had lost irreplaceable, items. Obviously, they were upset but they wanted to make sure that everyone was all right."
Mr Goldstraw, who was not at the shop at the time, said: "Five people in an Audi pulled up outside at 5pm and smashed through the outer glass door and tried to break the inner door.
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"My daughter Connie reacted really quickly and pressed the alarm button, setting off the smoke cloak."
He said the staff were able to get to a safer part of the building as the robbers got inside.
"My 10-year-old granddaughter was in the shop while all this was going on, it just shows the kind of scum we are dealing with," he said.
Mr Goldstraw said four or five people went into the shop and they were all armed with sledgehammers, hammers and iron bars.
"It was extremely traumatic. It was a very, very intimidating environment," Mr Goldstraw said. "The day after I thought about turning the key in the door and walking away because after 40 years of building something up somebody could think they could come along and take it all away."
He said that apart from the impact on the staff and family, the worst part had been the loss of customers' jewellery, much of which was of great sentimental value and irreplaceable.
Mr Goldstraw said they had been able to reopen quickly in the busy period in the run up to Christmas but that they would take time off between Christmas and New Year to recover.
Police are continuing to investigate the robbery and have urged anyone with information to come forward.
Police can be contacted online at https://bit.ly/3vsiYDw quoting reference 35/84458/21 or by calling 101.