Fleet Street jewellery thieves may have painted over CCTV camera

Burglars who raided an upmarket jewellers as thousands of runners thundered past may have painted over a CCTV camera to cover their tracks.

The device in a branch of William Hill, next door to George Attenborough and Son Jewellers on Fleet Street in central London, was found to have been daubed with white paint after the raid at the weekend.

Police would not reveal how much was stolen in the heist but the jeweller advertises pieces worth tens of thousands of pounds on its website.

A CCTV camera painted white inside the William Hill next door to George Attenborough and Son Jewellers on Fleet Street
A CCTV camera painted white inside the William Hill next door to George Attenborough and Son Jewellers on Fleet Street (Ted Hennessey/PA)

Speaking at the scene on Wednesday, former Metropolitan Police detective Peter Kirkham told reporters: “Although this is not one of those things where only a couple of gangs could be capable of pulling it off, it would be above the average amateur burglar, some thought has gone into it.

“There’s probably some sort of alarm system they’ve had to deal with, so there was a degree of difficulty.”

The Sun reported that the gang had used drills to smash their way through a wall from a neighbouring premises.

Thousands of runners taking part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon that passed nearby at the weekend would have masked the noise as the thieves tunnelled through.

William Hill next door to George Attenborough and Son Jewellers on Fleet Street
William Hill next door to George Attenborough and Son Jewellers (Ted Hennessey/PA)

Another theory is that the burglars got into the main building through a fire escape, opening a door by reaching through a letterbox.

The incident happened a short distance from the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company, which was raided in April 2015.

Of the £13.6 million of property stolen in the heist, only around £4.5 million – roughly one-third – has since been recovered by police.

Speaking of the evidence available to detectives, Mr Kirkham said: “It’s very difficult not to leave a trace of yourself these days, fingerprints are easier to avoid leaving but DNA is a totally different matter, so they may well have left some traces there.

Fleet Street burglary
A boarded up hole in William Hill (Ted Hennessey/PA)

“CCTV will play a big part, police can check every shop up and down Fleet Street, they’ll be able to check for any comings and goings, if they were in there for a length of time and it’s quiet, which it usually is on Saturday.”

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police anti-robbery Flying Squad are leading the hunt for the burglars.

The force said in a statement: “Police were called shortly before 2am on Monday, March 25, to a report of a burglary at a jewellers in Fleet Street.

“A quantity of jewellery was stolen. An investigation has been launched, led by detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad.

“Forensic examination work is continuing at the scene.

“No arrests have been made. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances and identify those responsible.

“We are not providing further information at present, and we are not disclosing details of what was stolen.

“Any witnesses, or anyone with information, should call police via 101 quoting CAD 451/mar25.

“To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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