Builders armed with shovels teamed up with restaurant workers to foil a moped gang who targeted a West End jewellers in a brazen raid today.
A maître d and his staff joined a group of construction workers to chase off the robbers and help detain one who was tied up with cable from a building site by rabble of the have-a-go-heroes.
The gang struck in Avery Row, just half a mile from where robbers on scooters plundered Rolexes in a smash and grab at Mappin & Webb on Regent Street last night.
The thieves struck with sledgehammers and axes at around 11.20am on the latest raid.
The restaurant worker said: “We looked out they were trying to smash the glass, so not getting anywhere. Then the builders ran out, we were scared but we piled in as well and chased one of them down. That place has been tested before. We stick together around here.”
Naz Prince, 29, a construction worker said: “There were five or six on scooters they had three sledgehammer and three axes, they were trying to smash the window.
“But we’re struggling They said ‘stay back we will cut you’. But workers with me got their shovels and tools and ran after them.
“One of our boys tied one up with cable ties. The others got on their bikes.”
The thieves failed to smash their way into the shop and threatened locals before one was chased off and restrained by members of the public.
Head of security at Watchfinder & Co James Strouts said: “Our doors did not open.
“Staff are fine and so are the customers in the shop. It’s material damage to the glass.
“I am grateful to local people for helping. It shows that people won’t stand for this. Hopefully it puts a dent in one of the groups terrorising London and the UK.”
A dramatic photo posted on social media shows a crowd of men – some wearing high-vis jackets and others in suits – surrounding a man who has been pinned to the ground.
Further images show armed police at the scene, while another shows a moped lying on its side.
A Met Police spokesman said: “Police in Westminster were called at around 11.13am on Tuesday October 10 following reports of a smash and grab raid at a watch store in Avery Row.
“At this early stage officers believe there were five suspects riding three mopeds, armed with a sledgehammer. All had helmets and balaclavas on.
“The men were seen to make an attempt to break the glass frontage of the shop but failed to do so.
“As they fled the scene, one of the men fell off his moped and was detained by a member of the public for a short time until officers arrived at the location.
“This man was arrested and taken to a central London police station where he currently remains in custody. The moped he was riding on was seized by police.
“There have been no reports of any injuries.”
Last night a gang of six moped robbers raided a luxury jewellery store on Regent Street armed with a sword.
Police told how during the raid, at 7.20pm, members of the public confronted the gang, who also wielding bats, hammers and machetes, causing them to abandon the robbery.
Passers-by even tried to pursue them through streets crowded with commuters and shoppers.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101. Alternatively contact crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111, or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.