The ‘irreplaceable’ ceremonial chains of the Mayor of Bury have been stolen during a violent attack by masked thugs armed with a hammer last night.
A balaclava-wearing man struck the mayor’s driver with the hammer as he placed a briefcase containing the chains into the boot of a car at around 10.15pm in the Stand Lane area of Radcliffe.
The attacker stole the briefcase and fled the scene by jumping into the passenger seat of a green-coloured VW Polo, which had been waiting nearby.
Superintendent Karan Lee of Greater Manchester Police said: “This is a robbery that hits at the very heart of our town in more ways than one.
“These men were calculated and ruthless, waiting for the Mayor and her driver to arrive at the scene before using extreme force to achieve their goal.
“Although the gold and diamond chains are of significant historical and monetary value, having been given to the town of Bury by Queen Victoria, the scrap value will be significantly less than the loss to our heritage.”
The police are not able to provide a description of the attacker, although the accomplice driving the getaway vehicle is believed to be a white man aged between 30-40.
The victim who suffered the hammer attack escaped with muscle damage to his shoulder and was treated at the scene.
The mayor had been attending a service commemorating the lives lost in World War II, and police are appealing to anyone who had been at the service or in the area to come forward with information.
Councillor Mike Connolly, Leader of Bury Council, said: “Everyone connected to the borough of Bury and Bury Council will be appalled at this dreadful crime committed on our First Citizen and her Deputy as they were carrying out their civic duties.
“The chains are an irreplaceable part of our heritage and so we are offering a substantial reward for their safe return.
“Our thoughts are also very much with the Mayor’s driver who was hurt during the robbery and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101 or the independent charity, Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 55 111.
Image courtesy of Ingy the Wingy, with thanks.