This dramatic footage shows axe-wielding raiders carrying out a brazen lunchtime smash and grab robbery at an Ilkley jewellers.

Four men dressed in blue overalls and black balaclava masks struck at Lister Horsfall in Brook Street in full view of frightened shoppers yesterday.

They used axes to smash holes in the protective glass before grabbing what they could from the window display.

At one point one of the robbers used the axe to threaten a policewoman who approached the scene, according to a witness.

The gang then sped off in the silver Honda Civic, which had been driven on to the pavement in front of the shop, down Brook Street and Railway Road, narrowly missing a car and pedestrians.

The getaway car, which was driven by a fifth gang member, was quickly abandoned and set alight in Hampshire Close, Ilkley.

Last night the gang remained on the run.

One witnesses, who saw the raid from her car and called police, 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 witnessed the robbery said one of the gang walked towards an approaching policewoman and threatened her with the axe he was carrying.

“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.”

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.

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 admitted 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 incident.

Mr Horsfall 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.”

It is the third time in two years the jewellers has been targetted by armed robbers – it was previously being raided in June 2012 and September 2011.

In September last year Darren Pallas was jailed for seven and a half years for a daylight sledgehammer raid on the jeweller’s shop on June 6, 2012. He was one of a gang wearing black balaclava masks who smashed their way in with sledgehammers and got away with thousands of pounds of watches and jewellery from the Rolex watch specialist.

Pallas, 33, of Cross Green, Leeds, went on trial at Bradford Crown Court and was convicted by a jury.

A police spokesman urged anyone who saw something suspicious before or after yesterday’s robbery to contact the police on the non-emergency number 101.