Police chiefs today promised to remain vigilant and increase patrols after more than £16,000 of jewellery was stolen by masked raiders.
Three axe-wielding thugs smashed their way into Peter Woodcock and Co in Lytham around 3am on Saturday and stole thousands of pounds of silver and watches.
Police said the men, all with their faces covered, used an axe and hammer to smash through a display window at the store before snatching the huge haul of jewellery.
Today, Fylde’s police chief Insp Mark Thackeray-Scott promised a thorough investigation to capture those behind the raid, which follows similar crimes in the town in the last five years.
He added: “We do get increases in crimes of this nature in the lead-up to Christmas time.
“We put plans in place for that – these crimes are infrequent, not common. This is probably the first raid in the town this year.
“Obviously, we take it very seriously and will investigate the matter thoroughly.
“We are aware we need to be vigilant at this time of year and we will be targeting the area (with more officers) to try and prevent these crimes.”
The raid comes three years after Peter Woodcock and Co was last targeted in a daylight robbery in August 2011.
On that occasion, raiders stormed the shop armed with machetes demanding access to the safe before stealing a substantial amount of jewellery.
Another jewellers, Leonard Dews, was forced to close in January 2012 after four armed raids in five years, while last year the town’s Santander Bank suffered two cash in transit thefts.
Today, Lytham Coun Mark Bamforth said more police were needed on the town’s streets.
He added: “Fifteen major crimes in the past five or six years tells its own story.
“It is a lack of police – it needs addressing. We used to have a station and plenty of officers but that is not the case. Raids of this type are worrying.”
Coun Ken Hopwood added: “It is not the first time that particular jewellers has been targeted.
“There are serious concerns about a lack of police presence in Lytham.
“We have CCTV across the town but this is no substitute for a police presence.”