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Men armed with hammers attack London shop linked to celebrity antiques expert

Three people have been injured after men armed with hammers stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery from a west London shop linked to celebrity antiques expert Ian Towning. 

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement they were called to a premises on Sydney Street, just off the King's Road in Chelsea at 12.11pm on Tuesday.

Two men damaged property inside the shop and stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery, police said.

Three people were taken to hospital to receive treatment after they sustained injuries during the robbery, the force added.

Their injuries were said to be non-life-threatening.

The robbery is understood to have taken place at Bourbon Hanby Antiques Arcade, where Mr Towning was a director until at least January last year, according to Companies House filings.

Mr Towning, 76, has appeared as an antiques expert on ITV's Dickinson's Real Deal and Posh Pawn on Channel 4.

He also has an active Instagram page where he promotes new antique items that have arrived at his shop.

He first opened his antiques store at the Chelsea Antiques Market in 1976 before opening the Bourbon Hanby Arcade in 1997.

A Bourbon Hanby employee told Sky News they had no comment at this time.

The store was also robbed in 2008, when three men with sledgehammers and a gun left Mr Towning badly injured.

In a social media post in 2014, Mr Towning said he received a phone call from one of the men who had attacked him six years earlier.

Mr Towning wrote: "He said that he had changed, and that he was only 16 years old at the time, and that his life in prison (he served four of eight years) had made a new man of him, he was now married and settled with a job.

"He then asked me to forgive him for what he had done. I said that I had moved on, I had my jaw repaired and my teeth fixed and that life goes on and yes I did forgive him and I hold no malice towards him."

Stuart Fisher, a chef at the Market Place Restaurant, said he had been shown CCTV of Tuesday's incident.

He said the robbers had what looked like a "clawhammer and a 5lb hammer".

The 53-year-old added: "Two guys came in and started smashing up the counters.

"One of them went for one of the men in the shop, hit him with the hammer on the back of the head.

"[The victims] were literally on the floor cowering.

"On the way out, the one guy went to have another go [at the victims] and the other pulled him off."

He added that the suspects were masked.

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Mr Fisher said there were five or six police cars at the scene after the robbery, including armed officers.

He added: "The area's changed a lot over the last 20 years."

Another worker from a shop, who did not wish to be named, said hearing about the incident had been "so scary".

She said: "I don't think anywhere in London is safe at all.

"I've lived here for 20 years and never felt safe.

"I'm scared to let my kid go out to play.

"[This is] the most expensive borough in London and this happens in the middle of the day, it's unbelievable."

Detective Sergeant Richard Hall, who is leading the investigation, said: "I am appealing to the public to help us identify any potential witnesses who may have seen the incident unfold.

"I am particularly keen to be provided with any dashcam footage or CCTV from the local area at the time. This may help us find our suspects.

"If you know anything, or have witnessed anything suspicious in the Sydney Street area at the time, then please come forward to police by calling 101 stating CAD 2933/26Mar."