A smoke bomb was reportedly thrown into a town centre jewellers during a robbery today before thieves smashed through display cabinets and sped off with their haul.
Police and firefighters rushed to Bailey & Sons in Lower Kings Road, Berkhamsted, after a 999 call-out at about 12.30pm.
Police spokesman Giles Cooper said: “Two men entered the store and forced their way into numerous display cabinets.
“They stole a quantity of jewellery before leaving the store in a vehicle heading in the direction of the A41.”
Reports from social media website Facebook suggest the two men were dressed head to toe in black and carrying axes.
Neighbours later found about ‘four or five’ police cars - including a dog unit - at the junction of Ridgeway, Shootersway Lane and Greenway on the other side of town.
It is understood that officers found an abandoned car in Shootersway Lane - which is close to the A41 - as they had blocked it off with one of their vehicles.
They arrived in the residential area at about 3pm.
Anyone with any information about the robbery should phone Herts Police on 101, citing the reference ISR 275 of May 20, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Bailey & Sons did not want to comment.