Liverpool and Wirral jewellery store raids spark copycat fears

COPYCAT gangs could be behind the spate of jewellery robberies that have hit Merseyside in recent weeks.

Detectives probing five armed raids at stores in Liverpool and Wirral today said there was no concrete evidence they were linked.

There remains the possibility that separate gangs may be at work who are responsible for two incidents in Wirral, one at Boodles and Goldsmiths in the city centre, and another in Walton.

One of the greatest fears is criminals taking pointers from previous raids and possibly repeating tactics used by other gangs weeks earlier.

In many of the robberies, masked thugs used sledgehammers to smash windows or display cabinets in front of terrified shoppers and staff.

Today, it emerged that a grey Audi A3, with false registration plates, used in a £250,000 heist at Miltons on County Road on Tuesday had been found in Storrington Avenue, Croxteth, abandoned near the fire station.

Det Chief Inspector Neil Cowdrey, of Merseyside Police, who is probing the Boodles and Miltons raids, told the ECHO no arrests had been made, but they were pursuing positive lines of enquiry.

He said: “This could be a case of a knock-on effect. People picking up on other people’s methods.

“I would appeal to anyone who is offered jewellery, in particular to those who work in the trade, to come forward if they notice circumstances out of the ordinary.”

Officers have visited many jewellers across the city advising them on how to better protect against criminals.

They advised retailers to take photographs of valuable stock to help track down stolen goods.

In the robbery at Miltons, robbers screamed at up to 25 people to ‘get down’ as they forced their way inside at the same time as a parent was pushing a child into the shop. A security guard also had a knife held to his throat.

Detectives suspect from their accents that they were local.

Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 0151 777 4811