Thieves make off with high-value watches after putting dealer in choke hold

Police have launched a hunt for two men suspected of robbing a jewellers in Richmond, south-west London.

The assailants entered the shop in the leafy borough and assaulted a member of staff, before making off with a quantity of high value watches.

CCTV images of the two suspects show one had a distinct neck tattoo.

The member of staff was not seriously injured during the incident, which took place on Kew Road at around 2.50pm on Saturday.

Home to celebrities including Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster and Rick Astley, the singer, Richmond is one of the most affluent residential areas in the country – with some five-bed properties on Kew Road boasting asking prices of more than £4.5 million.

Police released CCTV images of two men they want to locate following a robbery at a jewellers in Richmond
Police released CCTV images of two men they want to locate following a robbery at a jewellers in Richmond - Fisher Simon

Watch theft has soared over recent years – with the number stolen in England and Wales nearly doubling from 6,696 to 11,035 between 2015 and 2022, according to data from retailer Watchfinder & Co.

High-profile victims include Amir Khan, the former world boxing champion, who was forced to hand over his £72,000 Franck Muller watch in a gunpoint robbery in east London in 2022.

Dante Campbell and Ahmedi Bana, then 21 and 26, respectively, both admitted to conspiracy to rob and possession of an imitation firearm in relation to the theft at Snaresbrook Crown Court last year.

Luxury watch thefts

Bana was jailed for nine years and eight months in relation to his part in the theft of the boxer’s watch, while Campbell was handed a seven-year-and-nine-month sentence.

Dante Campbell, 21, ran at Khan and yelled at him to “take off the watch” on April 18 last year, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Ahmed Bana, 26, admitted he was the driver of the silver Mercedes that dropped Campbell and another unknown suspect at the scene.

Earlier this year, the Met Police revealed it has used undercover “victim” officers to catch would-be luxury watch thefts in central London.

Ben Russell, Cdr for Intelligence, said two operations in 2022 and 2023 – which saw officers deployed as targets by wearing expensive watch brands – led to watch robbery reductions in and around Westminster.

Criminals who tried to steal the watches in the street were apprehended by other undercover officers nearby, with both operations leading to 21 convictions as of January this year.

Referring to the Richmond jewellers robbery, a Met Police spokesman said anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers.