Revealed: Firm whose watch dealer was found dead after raid also targeted in 2021 when crooks stole £500k of timepieces

28 May 2024, 11:48 | Updated: 28 May 2024, 11:57

A jewellers raided by two thieves on Saturday (left and right) was previously targeted in a 2021 attack where robbers stole £500,000 worth of watches, it has been revealed.
A jewellers raided by two thieves on Saturday (left and right) was previously targeted in a 2021 attack where robbers stole £500,000 worth of watches, it has been revealed. Picture: Met Police/Google

By Christian Oliver

A jewellers raided by two thieves on Saturday was previously targeted in a 2021 attack when robbers stole £500,000 worth of watches, it has been revealed.

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A gang of four thieves loaded 750kg safe into a Ford Focus after storming a "secure" business park in Egham, Surrey, just after midnight on September 21, 2021, making off with almost half a million pounds worth of goods.

The firm was not insured for loss of stock at the time of the theft.

Almost three years on, the same firm - which business records show relocated to south London two months after the robbery - was on Saturday stormed by two men who fled with a stash of high-value watches from 247 Kettles on Kew Road, Richmond.

One of the thieves appeared to assault a member of staff during the attack, placing his arms around the victim and restraining his hands while the other robber made off with the timepieces.

A watch dealer has now been found dead 24 hours after the raid.

Thieves during Saturday's attack in Richmond
Thieves during Saturday's attack in Richmond. Picture: Met Police
Meadlake Place Business Centre, where the 2021 raid took place
Meadlake Place Business Centre, where the 2021 raid took place. Picture: Google

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The 2021 theft came when raiders took their car off-road and cut through a fence in an adjoining park to break through into Meadlake Place Business Centre - which was also home to Samsung

Three men wearing balaclavas and overalls and armed with sledgehammers and crowbars were seen on CCTV footage smashing through glass doors and into 1 Meadlake Place.

CCTV footage showed the thieves running up the fire escape stairs to the first floor before breaking through a 300kg wooden security door.

They then broke into jewellery firm 247 Kettles and took off with a 750kg safe, £10,000 in cash, and boxes of bangles worth £20,000. The total value of the robbery was said to be £500,000.

The firm's co-founder Conor Thornton told MailOnline at the time: "We had bought a safe weighing 750kg for our stock and as we were on a locked business park with 24 hour security, we thought that would make us impenetrable.

"In the event, they used a sledgehammer to smash our floor to ceiling windows and then shoved the safe out onto the road below.

"The CCTV footage shows some smaller boxes landing on the road outside before the mighty safe, containing watches and jewellery worth £400,000, hit the deck with a puff of dust."

Thieves during Saturday's attack in Richmond
Thieves during Saturday's attack in Richmond. Picture: Met Police
A thief holds down the dealer during Saturday's attack in Richmond
A thief holds down the dealer during Saturday's attack in Richmond. Picture: Met Police

CCTV footage showed thieves spending 11 minutes trying to load the massive safe into the Ford Focus, while their get-away driver remained in the car.

Mr Thornton said at the time that he only launched the business six months earlier in March 2021 and only found out about the burglary two hours later.

He told the outlet that he believed thieves targetted his firm as they passed 50 other businesses.

While CCTV footage showed the registration plate of the getaway car, it did not relate to the Ford Focus the thieves were driving.

It is not clear if anyone was ever arrested or convicted of the 2021 raid. LBC has contacted Surrey Police for comment.

LBC also contacted 247 Kettles via telephone but they declined to comment.

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