A GANG of masked raiders smashed their way into a jewellers with sledge hammers before escaping with thousands of pounds worth of diamonds and watches.
A car pulled up outside Leonard Dews on Clifton Street, Lytham, and three men dressed in black leapt from the vehicle before using the hammers to smash their way through the door.
Witnesses described seeing the men then break through glass display cabinets to get to the gems inside.
And as the gang jumped into a waiting black Ford Mondeo one have-a-go-hero hurled a chair at the robbers but was unable to stop them fleeing the scene.
Lydia Ward Smith, 19, was in the Cafe Nero next door to Leonard Dews when the robbery took place at 4.30pm yesterday.
It is the third time the store has been raided in four years.
She said: “I’m really shocked at what happened.
“I was sitting out the back with my sister when I heard noises and people shouting.
“I ran to the front and my heart was racing and I saw the men all in black with sledgehammers.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but one of the customers threw a chair at them but stopped when they threatened him.”
The getaway car was dumped and set on fire in nearby Agnew Street, before the raiders got into a silver Ford S-Max and drove off in the direction of Wrea Green.
Det Insp Andy Unsworth, of Blackpool CID, said: “Fortunately nobody has been hurt but this has left the staff extremely shaken.
“I would like to speak to anybody who believes they may have seen anyone acting suspiciously around Clifton Street in the days or weeks leading up to the robbery.
“The men made their escape in a silver Ford S-Max which we believe had been parked up at Lytham railway station.”
A spokesman for Leonard Dews said “The police acted swiftly and were on the scene immediately and an investigation is now under way.
“All staff were shaken by the robbery but are safe and well.”
Last month, diamond specialist Woodcock and Co on Henry Street, Lytham, was raided by thieves who fled with thousands of pounds in jewellery. They remain at large.
Anyone with information is urged to call Blackpool Police on 08451 253545 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.