Have they struck again?

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A HOODED gang armed with sledgehammers which attacked a Brighouse town centre jeweller’s could have struck before.

There are a number of similarities in the way the raid was carried out with a robbery at the Park Street branch of the Santander Bank last September.

Both gangs used sledgehammers, they took the same getaway route and abandoned their stolen car in an out-of-the-way parking area off Albion Street, Lane Head.

Police investigating this latest violent robbery in the town centre say they are looking into these links but are keeping an open mind.

Police were called at 9.46am last Friday to reports of two masked men wearing hooded tops attacking Neimantas Jewellers, Commercial Street, Brighouse.

Two of the men were attempting to smash the windows of the shop with sledgehammers. A third man was waiting in a silver Audi A5 as they prepared to make their getaway.

The car sped off along Commercial Street and was later found abandoned in a parking area near to garages off Albion Street.

The incident echoed a raid on the Santander bank on Commercial Steet on September 16 when masked men armed with sledgehammers stole a cash box from G4S couriers.

The jeweller’s owner, Stephen Neimantas, described how he heard a loud banging before seeing two men hammering the window.

“I went in between the edge of the display pushing items on to the floor. A hand came in so I tried pushing things out of the way and from his hand. Another man then forced his way in through the door and started waving his sledgehammer around so I came out from behind the glass before they fled.”

The gang also came under pressure from shoppers and passer-bys in the town centre. Witnesses from neighbouring shops described how people started to surround the thieves with one attempting to stand in front of the getaway car.

A staff member from the RSPCA charity shop said they were in total shock as they saw the event unfold.

“We saw them hammering on the window before a large group from Wilkinson’s car park started shouting at them that the police were coming,” said one witness.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Detective Sergeant Phil Jagger, of Halifax CID, said: “We know there were several witnesses to the robbery and would ask them to come forward in confidence and speak to us. “

Anyone with information is asked to contact DS Jagger or Det Con Helliwell at Halifax CID on 01422 337 083 or 0845 6060606 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.