Gun-wielding robbers remain on the run after Gants Hill pawnbroker raid which left staff traumatised
- Credit: Archant
Four robbers armed with a pistol and a stun gun stormed a pawnbroker shop, traumatising staff in what they described as a “life changing” experience.
The shop manager was hit with the stun gun before the robbers fled with cash and jewellery.
Fifteen minutes later a car exploded in flames around the corner, terrifying residents, as the suspects ran off on foot followed by the police helicopter.
Maxcroft Securities Ltd, Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill, was robbed on Friday at 2.45pm.
A worker, who was too scared to be identified, said: “It was a horrible, horrific experience and it caused us a lot of pain. It was life changing to some of the girls here, if not all of us.”
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The robbers are described as a white woman, two black men and a third man who was wearing tights over his face.
The robbery was overheard by a man who had called the brokers minutes before to inquire about an item and the phone was not properly on the hook.
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He said: “It was obvious what was going on. I was in a bit of a panic and could not remember the password for my phone as I was waiting for someone to get shot.
“It was obviously violent. I had a phone on each ear, one listening and one to the ‘Old Bill’.”
Police were then called to nearby Brisbane Road, Ilford, where resident Roger Watts, 56, says he heard an explosion as a Ford Mondeo went up in flames.
He said: “I was in the garden then heard two pops and thought it was strange. It was the tyres exploding. It was like a film. The armed police turned up with pistols and rifles.”
Police said they believe the exploding car is related to the robbery.
Det Con Mike Baines, from specialist unit the Flying Squad, said: “Police are asking the public to come forward with any information. All calls will be treated with the upmost confidence.”
• Anyone with information should call the Flying Squad on 020 8345 4248 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.