Armed robbers strike at King’s Lynn jewellers Francis Wain

WITNESSES have spoken of fear and confusion as armed robbers struck at a King’s Lynn town centre jewellers this morning.

Members of the public were shouted at by the ‘aggressive’ hooded men who struck at Francis Wain in Norfolk Street at around 9.45am.

They took sledge hammers to the shop windows before speeding away towards Austin Street, and police have said firearms were reported at the scene.

Shoppers were shouted at by members of the gang of four or five robbers, who all wore white hoodies and had their faces covered. They used smoke canisters to block CCTV images of the pedestrianised street as the robbery was taking place.

“Some people were running away, others screamed and some stood still while it happened - it was unbelievable really. The men were really aggressive and shouting, but it was all over in a minute,” said an eye witness.

Paramedics were called to tend a woman who collapsed in the street - it’s believed as a result of the shock and smoke which the robbers released.

“I had just put our sign outside when this van came speeding round the corner and pulled up outside the store. I thought he was going a bit quick and then I saw the smoke but it took a minute for it to sink in,” said Elliott Kempton, assistant manager at the 3G store opposite the jewellers.

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“They had sledge hammers and were hitting the windows and they let off smoke, it was really quick. I locked the doors and called the police,” he added.

Witnesses spoke of running for cover and a number of them gathered in Cafe Nero, in Norfolk Street, and watched what was happening from behind the door.

“Some just stood, others tried to get the registration number of the van and some were screaming. It was frightening - you really don’t expect it in King’s Lynn,” said one.

“They were all wearing white hoodies and jumped out. There was a sound a bit like a muffled explosion - it was the glass going. The men were using smoke and pumping it everywhere - they were shouting at people on the street,” he added.

“It was really quick and we saw it happen outside our window. It must have been awful for the people in the store,” said Chris McKenna, shift manager at Subway, next to Francis Wain.

“You just don’t expect it - there was smoke everywhere,” he added.

A Mercedes people carrier pulled up outside the store after heading into the town centre from the Tuesday Market Place.

Police remain at the scene and any information should be given to officers by phoning 101.