Have-a-go heroes bravely gave chase after two armed robbers launched a shocking smash and grab raid at a Blackpool jewellers.
The raiders rode up to Goldmine jewellers on Waterloo Road, South Shore on bikes, smashed the window with hammers and grabbed trays of expensive jewellery.
But when they fled, half a dozen onlookers set off in pursuit, chasing the masked robbers up nearby streets after the heist at 10.10am yesterday.
Antony Crossley, a stock control worker at the Iceland store across the road, joined the chase along with one of his colleagues.
He said: “When they took out the hammers, me and another member of staff came out.
“They smashed the window and grabbed about three trays of jewellery.
“Then they dropped the hammers and ran off so we all started running after them.
“I was just thinking about the woman on her own in the shop they targeted. It was just a fight or flight instinct that took over and we chased them round the corner
“They left their bikes and headed up Hill Street.
“There were still people chasing them when we stopped but I didn’t see where they went after that.”
The robbers, described by eyewitnesses as men in their 20s, dropped some of their haul in the drama. But it is thought they may have got away with as much as £8,000 of stock.
Witnesses said the pair had been seen staking out the jewellers for several hours before striking.
A gaping hole was left in the front window of the jewellery shop as police cordoned off the scene.
Officers spoke to witnesses and gathered CCTV footage from local businesses.
Local newsagent Altaf Patel said he thought one of the pair may have been carrying a knife.
He added: “I was outside and saw the two guys try to smash the window.
“They were two young lads – they both had a hammer and one had a knife in his hand.
“They had their faces covered up and just started hitting the window.
“A few people chased them, which was very brave.
“When I saw the knife I thought again.”
Police have not yet confirmed the value of the jewellery stolen.
Courtney Geer, Iceland cashier, also gave chase as the men ran off.
She said: “One had a black cap on and they were both wearing track suits.”
South Shore resident Steven Woodhead, 24, said: “It’s getting worse around here. It’s not fair to smash a window like that in the middle of the day and scare the woman who owns the place.”
Iceland duty manager Katrina Ogilvie said: “I can’t believe they did it in broad daylight. They were even sat on the bench outside when a Police Community Support Officer came out of our shop.”
Sid Chand, manager of nearby clothes store Iconic, said: “You don’t expect things like this during the day. But I think they were quite spooked – it looked like the men panicked.”
David Simpson, owner of Goldmine, was still counting the cost of the robbery last night but said he believed the thieves’ haul could be worth as much as £8,000.
He said: “You get used to this sort of thing - it’s an occupational hazard.
“But life goes on and as soon as we can get the glass for the window we will be open and up and running again. I expect to be shut for a couple of days.
“I was delighted with the response of the police and I think they managed to recover some of the items that were taken.”
A police spokesman said: “Nobody was hurt or threatened during the incident.”
Investigations are ongoing and anyone with information should call police on 101.