TWO Rolex watches worth more than £16,000 were snatched in a daylight raid at a town jewellers.
Staff at Market Cross Jewellers, in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, were left shook up after a man grabbed the expensive watches before making a dash out of the store and out of the shopping centre.
Shocked staff told the Mail how the man asked if he could look at the Rolex watches, claiming he was looking for a Christmas present for his girlfriend.
After a member of staff took the two pre-owned Ladies Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust watches from the display in the shop window, the man then snatched both of the time pieces before making a run for it through the town centre.
Another man, believed to have been with the suspect who stole the watches waited outside the store while the robbery took place.
Police have now launched a search for the suspects and detectives are studying the store’s CCTV footage.
The shellshocked member of staff who served the man, who wished not to be named, told the Mail: “It just all happened so quickly.
“The second I got the watches out he just snatched them from my hand and ran.
“It was frightening, I’m just relieved nobody got hurt trying to stop them or anything like that.”
Both of the stolen watches are 18 carat yellow gold on 18 carat gold bracelets. One was priced at £8,450 while the other costs £7,495.
Dawn Welsh, company manager who wasn’t in the store at the time of the robbery, told the Mail: “I’m just glad none of our staff got hurt, they were really shook-up afterwards, as you would be.
“Our main message to staff is always to never put themselves in danger.
“Fortunately the CCTV footage is quite clear, now we just have to hope the police track the men down.”
Police are now urging anyone with any information to come forward.
The man who snatched the watches is thought to be in his 30s and is described as white, 5ft9-10in tall and was wearing a grey cardigan, jeans and a flat cap.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said the men are believed to have ran out of the shopping centre on to Park Road and then into Lister Street and Holt Street.
Store bosses revealed that both watches had the Rolex model reference number 69178.
The watch pictured with the champagne coloured dial with gold baton hour markers has the unique serial number S658233.
The other has the unique serial number of X982098.
Anyone with any information should call Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.