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Jewellery Raid Foiled By 50 Angry Shoppers


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A smash and grab raider was dragged off a motorbike and beaten to the ground by dozens of have-a-go heroes today during a brazen daylight robbery.

Eye-witnesses told how a mob of more than 50 people tackled him as he tried to make his getaway in scenes of 'mayhem' similar to a medieval 'hue and cry' or a Hollywood film.

He was a part of a five-strong gang who pulled up outside a designer jewellers on a leafy west London High Street and blocked the road while two of raiders smashed the shop windows with sledgehammers and grabbed £400,000 of watches.

However, the group had not reckoned with several brave members of the public who intervened to try and stop the heist at Ernest and Jones on Kensington High Street at around 10.45am this morning.

One man was arrested at the scene after being detained by members of the public. Three other suspects were seized by police a short while later while a fifth remains at large. Several stolen designer watches were recovered.

Hero Charlie Masud Riyahi, 51, who happens to wrestle as a hobby, jumped into action when he saw the raid.

‘When one of them tried to get away a group of people surrounded him and closed his way,’ Mr Riyahi said.

‘He was trying to scare us with the sledgehammer. But when he got on the motorbike, someone knocked him off.

‘I jumped on his back and pinned him down to the ground. It was all over in a fraction of a second. I used to do wrestling so it was really easy. I wasn’t scared of him at all and after that other people came to help me.

‘I wasn’t expecting to be here today and I honestly believe I was there at that moment for a reason.’

Robert Dennis, 27, a charity worker who was standing outside the store with a friend, was also among the first to tackle the gang.

'Two of the men were hammering at the glass. I came in and tried to grab one of them, and he started swinging his sledge-hammer at us,' he said.

'As he ran away I tripped him up and his bag fell on the floor. I picked it up and a group of guys tried to grab him. I felt a huge rush of adrenaline when he was swinging the hammer. I really didn't know what was going on.'

Mr Dennis returned the bag of watches to staff at Ernest Jones, who took refuge inside the store during the raid.

Assistant manager Sonal Koria, 29, said: 'I was absolutely petrified. We ran to the back of the shop and hid there. They didn't take much but this is the second time it has happened in three months.'

Steve Finsbury, 34, another passer-by who helped wrestled the masked motorbike rider to the ground, said: 'Traffic blocked the road to try and stop them getting away. Two guys managed to grab one of them and then a group of us wrestled him to the ground - we jumped on him really.

'He was wriggling around but he soon realised there was no point trying to resist. It was like a movie.

Sam Dolling, 20, an electrician, said: ‘I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I only went out for a bacon roll- I didn’t expect to see a jewellery heist. It was like something from a film.

‘It was good how everyone went to help the guy who tackled him. He was amazing - so brave.

‘You don’t expect to see that nowadays. Most people would have just let them get on with it.’

After the attack, one witness said she was almost knocked over in the street by a man running from the scene with ‘handfuls’ of gold rolexes.

The four remaining robbers fled the scene and attempted to hide in nearby Holland Park.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Police were called at approximately 10.40 hrs to reports of robbery in progress at Ernest Jones jewellers in Kensington High Street.

‘At this early stage is it believed five men on three motorbikes armed with hammers were involved in the robbery.

‘One male suspect was detained at the scene by members of the public and then arrested by officers.

‘Another three males were arrested later on.

‘Some items stolen have been recovered and officers are in the process of looking for the outstanding suspects.’

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Hero Charlie Masud Riyahi, 51, who happens to wrestle as a hobby, jumped into action when he saw the raid.

Nice hobby :lol: Unfortunate for the robber though.

Just reading this kind of thing gives me a buzz. It's so good to hear about people doing the right thing for a change.

That guy should get a medal. I'm serious.

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Oh have times changed, these "Robbers" would have once been called Heroes


Easy to glamourise the past.

Mind you, look who they're calling heroes nowadays. Those who do genuinely good things (like this wrestler, risking ruining his life with endless court cases) might well want to avoid being associated with the label.

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