A FATHER and son who are two of the top jewellery makers in the world were victims of a sledgehammer smash and grab raid in broad daylight.
The crooks struck in front of open-mouthed shoppers in Woburn Sands High Street on Friday afternoon.
Disguised with hoods and scarves, the trio smashed a sledgehammer through the window of Harrisons jewellers at 3.15pm.
They stuck their gloved hands through the holes to grab fistfuls of valuable rings and watches before leaping into a getaway car and driving away.
Shocked staff were in the workshop at the back of the shop at the time and knew nothing until the alarms went off.
“It all happened within a few seconds. Nobody had a chance to do anything,” said a spokesman.
Staff are still trying to tot up exactly what was stolen and expect the losses to total tens of thousands of pounds.
But they are hoping some the hand-made pieces, which were made on the premises, will be so distinctive they will be difficult to sell on.
Business owners Paul and Matthew Harrison are both among the 100 people worldwide qualified to be Fellows of the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths.
They produce their own designs in their workshop and even have their own Harrison’s hallmark – easily recognisable to anybody in the jewellery trade.
Other items stolen include valuable watches and highly distinctive cluster rings commissioned from abroad.
Police are keen to talk to anybody who notices unusual jewellery or watches for sale. They are also appealing urgently for witnesses to Friday’s raid.
The man who smashed the window wore a grey hooded top and had a scarf over his face. The second man was 6ft tall and wore a green balaclava, pale tracksuit bottoms, a blue and grey jacket with a white logo on the front and white trainers with bright blue laces and patterns.
The third man wore a blue Nike hooded top, blue jeans, white trainers with black patterns and a camouflage scarf over his face.
They drive off in a light blue or silver VW Passat.
Anybody with information should contact Detective Inspector Phil Hayes on 101.