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Gunpoint terror as robber strikes at Papworth Jewellers in Lymington
A GANG OF armed robbers are being hunted today after a jeweller had a gun held to his head during a raid.
Three men brandishing black automatic pistols burst into Papworth Jewellers in St Thomas Street, Lymington, and ordered one of the staff to lie on the floor.
Police say a gun was held to his head and threats made.
The robbers are understood to have stolen a large number of items before fleeing in a blue Alfa Romeo driven by an accomplice. The car was last seen heading in the Pennington direction.
The robbers are described as wearing dark coloured head coverings. Two were dressed in dark clothing and another in a light coloured striped shirt.
One was carrying a dark canvass bag and the other a blue and red checked shopping holdall.
Officers cordoned off the scene and were interviewing staff at the shop and talking to witnesses in a bid to establish exactly what happened during the raid, which happened at 11am this morning.
A police spokesman said: “Two of the men had black automatic pistols.
“The jeweller was told to get down and lie on the floor. He had a gun placed to his head and a threat was made."
Two police cars were parked outside the shop which was sealed off with a uniformed officer directing traffic and three officers were standing on the pavement and conferring with a detective investigating the robbery.
Neighbouring shops remained open including Best and Co hair and beauty salon where it appears to be business as usual.
One trader said: “I didn't see anything but I had customers in the shop at the time and I am used to cars stopping and starting in the street outside.
“I noticed someone on their mobile phone and then there was a bit of chaos. It's a worry.”
Another shop keeper added: “I wasn't here at the time and came back to find police swarming all over the place.
“Something like this is reasonably rare in Lymington - first one in a long time.”
A police helicopter was up circling overhead, as officers searched for the raider.
Local residents were shocked and worried about the news.
Mary Young, 82, from Lymington, said: "My family are jewellers and I'd hate to think anything like that would happene to them. It's always there in the back of your mind."
Sarah Bunce, 65, president Boldre WI: "It's awful that is happens anywhere in this country."
Meanwhile, Faye Lawrence, 47, said: "Well you don't really expect it in a small town. Lymington is such a quiet place. It's awful."
Mercy Mautsi, 40, a carer from Lymington, said: It's wrong and scary. In the middle of the day and in this part of the town you just don't expect it. Maybe that's why they came here because everyone is friendly here."
Officers took down the corden at the scene shortly after 1.10pm, some two hours after the initial raid.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Operation Woodruff at Lyndhurst CID on 101 or to ring the anonymous Crimestoppers charity line on 0800 555 111.
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