Flying Squad snatch 'machete robbery gang' after lying in wait outside London jewellers in posh Mayfair
The Flying Squad snatched a 'machete robbery gang' after lying in wait outside a posh London jewellers in a dramatic operation today.
Police confirmed their hero team - also known as The Sweeney - arrested four men as part of a pre-planned intelligence-led operation in Mayfair in central London this morning.
They said it was in order to thwart an alleged "smash and grab robbery at a jewellery store on Piccadilly, W1".
Four Flying Squad officers were injured during the arrest as four of the alleged gang "attempted to flee the scene on two mopeds".
One of the officers remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital after allegedly being run down during the operation.
Two axes, a knife and machete were all recovered at the scene.
The target was luxury watch store Chronext - where £500,000 of damage was caused.
No jewellery was thought to be taken during the incident. One report said police recovered stolen jewellery at the scene.
Plain-clothes officers were seen firing their Tasers a number of times as the alleged gang tried to flee.
Witnesses posted pictures online of two of the suspects pinned to the floor by police as one of the bikes lay on its side nearby.
One shot showed debris including what appeared to be a machete.
Eduard Chirila, 38, a security guard working at the time, said he was informed by the police beforehand to "take care of the staff" and put them in the back room.
Describing the raid, he said: "Two robbers got into the shop, they were wearing helmets.
"One smashed the cabinet but as soon as he did, he saw police coming out and his action changed and they both tried to get away."
A Met Police spokesman said: "At approximately 11:25hrs, the gang smashed their way into the store and attempted to steal a quantity of jewellery.
"As they made their way out of the store the Flying Squad officers moved in to arrest them.
"The four men then attempted to escape on two mopeds, TASER was discharged a number of times by Flying Squad officers.
"As the men attempted to flee, four officers were injured. Two suffered minor injuries; a third officer suffered a laceration injury which required hospital treatment.
"A fourth officer remains a serious but stable condition in hospital after he was struck by a moped driven by the suspects as they attempted to flee the scene.
"All four men were arrested on suspicion of robbery and have been taken to central London police stations."
The police spokesman confirmed that one of the men reported being unwell after he was booked into custody and was transferred to hospital. He has since been released and is now back in police custody.
Commander Stuart Cundy said: "Our officers are absolutely committed to keeping London safe and target the criminals who pose a danger to Londoners and our city businesses day in, day out.
"They know that this work carries with it very real risks and dangers but take this in their stride as part of the serving the public.
"One officer has sustained a serious head injury and a number of broken bones as a result of their dedicated efforts today; the Flying Squad are doing everything they can to support the officers affected at this difficult time."
"Today's events highlight the determination of Met officers to apprehend violent individuals who pose a threat to both businesses and the public."
Chronext chief executive Philipp Man, 25, who flew in from Zurich when he heard about the attack, said the raid resulted in around £500,000 worth of damage.
He confirmed all stock is insured, and that no customer stock was taken.
He said: "It's quite scary knowing you will be robbed in advance.
"We have ramped up all security in the past month, particularly in Germany and Switzerland.
"I think we were targeted because we have a lot of stock and watches are quite easy to sell. But if you are a robber this is not the smartest place to target.
"We are in Mayfair, one of the most frequented streets in London. It's meant to be one of the safest areas.
"You could see that these were not professionals. A machete is pretty medieval."
He added: "We have two Israelis and a Colombian on staff so they are accustomed to extraordinary situations."
Speaking about police trying to get into the shop before the raid, he said: "We deal with a lot of fraud, so we actually had to check the police were real."
He added: "We were planning on refurbishing the shop anyway."
The men smashed the windows of the store and tried to make off on mopeds with valuable watches, but were stopped in their tracks when Scotland Yard's anti-robbery team moved in after receiving a tip-off, the Met said.