Armed robbers carried out a smash and grab raid at an Ilkley jewellers at lunchtime today.

Four masked men dressed in blue overalls drove on to the pavement and smashed the window at Lister Horsfall in Brook Street.

They sped off in the silver Honda Civic down Brook Street and Railway Road, narrowly missing pedestrians.

The getaway car was then abandoned and set alight in Hampshire Close, Ilkley.

Lister Horsfall’s managing director Nicholas Horsfall praised the actions of his staff who stopped the robbers escaping with a big haul by activating the security shutters. 

Speaking on his way to the shop Mr Horsfall said: “I don’t think they managed to get away with a lot.

"The quick thinking of the staff managed to avert a major loss. The shutters went down, the blinds went down and they were stripping the stock from behind the window to stop it being taken.”

Mr Horsfall added: “We have systems in place to try to slow them down. I don’t think it is as bad a loss as it could have been.”

But he said he was surprised the robbers had managed to break through the toughened glass which was “as bandit proof as possible”.

He said the three or four staff on duty were uninjured but were shaken by the latest incident.

He added: “It is really frustrating that this is the world that we are living in and there is nothing you can do to deter them.”

The getaway car was abandoned and set alight on Hampshire Close, Ilkley.

One eyewitnesses, who saw the attack from her car nearby and immediately called police from her mobile phone, said: “It really shook me up. I thought ‘why are they parked on the pavement?’ and then they all came out.

"They were wearing blue jumpsuits and they had black coverings over their heads."

A man who was passing by claimed one of the men walked towards an approaching policewoman, holding up what looked like an axe, before heading back to the getaway car.

“He walked at her, it looked like an axe he had, and he raised it. Nobody should tackle them,” he said.

Another witness, who did not want to be named, said: “They just sped off down the pavement, they could have killed somebody.”