A Birmingham jeweller and a colleague “fled for their lives” when masked raiders hijacked their car in a gems heist running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Manoj Kumar ran off in terror when the crooks blocked in his car and smashed the windows to get at a bag containing a haul of 22-carat gold jewellery before escaping in the vehicle.
The 38-year-old said his ordeal had left him considering his future in the jewellery trade.
“It was terrifying,” he said. “I ran for my life.
“We’re still in shock. Sitting in my office I try to be normal but then I have flashbacks about what happened.”
Mr Kumar, a director of Hockley-based Karishma Jewellers, said he could not be sure how much the stolen jewellery was worth but estimated it would easily run into six figures.
The attack happened as he and a colleague, who would not be named, left a shop in Southall, London, last Tuesday.
He recalled: “We were blocked in by a blue Vectra and then they started smashing the windows of my car.
“He was asking for the bag, the guy with me got out of the car and they tried to punch him in the face. He bent down and the punch hit him in the neck.
“He was OK but obviously shaken.
“We had no alternative but to leave the car and run for our lives. The keys were left in the car and they took it.
“We don’t have a final tally yet (of what was stolen) but it will be in the £100,000s.”
Although based in Birmingham, Mr Kumar, a jeweller for ten years, travels the country to sell his products.
He said such attacks were becoming more common in the industry, despite the best efforts of police.
“Because of the business we’re in, we have to carry stuff to make sales and really try to make up our target.
“Now it’s like I don’t want to work anymore in this trade but if I don’t, there’s a recession and no work, it’s a hard time.
“It’s terrifying all over the country, where do we (jewellers) go? The police are taking actions and looking for alternatives to protect us but still these people are there when they shouldn’t be.
“The should be caught as soon as possible. The government should support everyone in the police and let them get into this and investigation and support them with finances.”