Daring Raid on Braintree Jeweller's Shop

Essex Chronicle 1934





Late on Friday night or early on Saturday the lock-up shop of D. W. Jeffery and Sons, jewellers, High Street, Braintree, was entered, and the thieves got away with a quantity of watches and jewellery worth £500.

Entrance was effected by the removal of glass from a skylight over the shop.

This was the third visit paid by burglars to the shop within twelve months. On the first occasion three men in a car got away with the contents of one of the windows after breaking down an iron grid. These men were subsequently caught for another matter, and they confessed to the Braintree robbery. The second attempt was made a few weeks ago, but the strength of the grid at the back of the shop was too much for the intruders.

To reach the skylight the visitors had to climb the front of the shop or of a dyer's shop adjoining. The lead covering the roof had to be cut away before the skylight itself was reached. The lead was rolled and placed on one side. Then the wooden-framed skylight was lifted and the drop taken to the shop below, a distance of about ten feet.

In the shop the window facing High Street was cleared of its gold articles, including watches and rings, and the same was done to show-cases inside the shop. Only gold articles were taken.

It seems remarkable that all this could be done in High Street without attracting attention, but very few people sleep within sound of the premises. Inside Messrs. Jeffrey's shop an electric light is kept on all night, and this illuminates the interior, and police patrol the street, but nothing untoward was noticed. No suspicious vehicle was observed in the vicinity.

A representative of The Essex Chronicle who visited Messrs. Jeffrey's shop Monday was informed that the robbery was discovered on Saturday morning when Mr. Lawrence, a watchmaker employed on the premises, opened the shop door at the front and saw the disorder inside and the skylight removed from the roof. It is assumed that the robbery was effected in the early hours of Saturday morning. The premises were left quite safe on Friday night. Mr. Don Jeffrey, the manager of the shop, was away on holiday at the time, and returned on Tuesday, when he was able to clear up the mystery of how the intruders got out of the premises, there being no ladder to reach the skylight ten feet from the floor. He explained that after the thieves opened the door from the shop to the workroom above, they went upstairs, opened the metal windows, got out on to the leads where they had forced the skylight, and escaped by climbing down the shop front.