Dramatic CCTV footage reveals the moment men armed with a long-handled sledgehammer robbed a jewellers in Manchester city centre.
The footage was released by Greater Manchester Police after two men used the hammer to rob £165,000-worth of watches from the Cheshire Watch Company on King Street West on Thursday January 15.
The pair fled on a stolen, silver moped after their incursion, but the bike was later found abandoned in the car park of the Grosvenor Casino on Ramsgate Street.
After sifting through CCTV images provided by the casino, police have now issued the footage of a man they wish to question in connection with the robbery.
DC Neil Saxon said: “All of our witness statements have said the same thing – that these men were wearing motorcycle helmets making it impossible to distinguish what they looked like.
“That is why this new footage from the casino is important, and why we are so keen to speak to the man pictured in that footage.
“The other opportunity for us in this case is going to be tracking the offenders when they try to sell the watches on.
“They will inevitably look to offload them and we are talking about rare timepieces that are both very expensive and quite recognisable.”
At 4.11pm, the assailants used the hammer to break open the front door of the jewellers.
While one of them held the shattered door open, the other smashed through a display cabinet to set off a smoke bomb, to which he hurriedly grabbed three Rolex and five Cartier watches.
However, no customers were in the shop at the time and no members of staff were harmed.
The suspect at the casino is described as white, around 5ft 10in tall, slim build and dark brown hair. He was wearing a blue puffer jacket with a hood and red logo, grey jeans and white trainers.
DC Saxon said: “I would urge the public to be vigilant and to contact police or Crimestoppers if they either recognise the man pictured, or they believe someone has tried to sell them one of these watches.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 3515 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.