Caught on camera phone: The £250,000 jewellery shop smash and grab

Last updated at 10:18 24 January 2008

The glass in the jeweller's shop

window shatters as three raiders

smash their way in with sledgehammers.

Their target, gleaming in the display

in front of them, about £250,000-

worth of watches – including brands

such as Cartier, Rolex and Breitling.

Passers -by, who captured the

moment with cameras on mobile phones, said it took at least five hits to cave the windows in.

Scroll down for more...

The three men, dressed in paper boiler suits, then reached inside and grabbed 60 watches.

They carried out the raid, at dusk, just before 5pm on Monday - several staff and customers were still in the shop but were uninjured.

In their haste to escape, the crooks dropped four watches on the pavement outside W Bruford jeweller's, in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

They then made off in a Renault Clio, which was later found abandoned.

It was reported stolen from Orpington, South-East London, on January 9.

A witness said: "We saw three men in boiler suits and balaclavas jump out of a car and smash the window with sledgehammers.

"It took them around five or six hits and they made two holes in the window before piling expensive watches into a bag."

However, attempts to sell on their precious haul may prove more difficult.

Detective Inspector Ian Williams, of Sussex Police, said all of the watches were traceable through their serial numbers.

"The stolen property can be traced, so if anyone buys one, they need to know they are handling stolen property."

Seven years ago, Jason Starkey, 33, was jailed for life for threatening a member of staff at the jeweller's with an imitation pistol before fleeing emptyhanded.

His attempt was thwarted when the manager refused to hand over an expensive gold watch.