A gang of armed robbers who carried out a lunchtime smash and grab robbery at a jewellers, might have escaped in a white van after dumping their getaway car, detectives now believe.

The silver Honda Civic is thought to have been stolen in Merseyside in December and could have been stored in the Bradford area since then.

The gang struck at Lister Horsfall in Brook Street, Ilkley, a week ago today.

Four men dressed in blue overalls and black balaclava masks used axes to smash holes in the protective glass before grabbing watches from the window display in front of terrified lunchtime shoppers.

They sped off in the silver Honda, which had been driven on to the pavement in front of the shop by a fifth gang member.

It was abandoned in Hampshire Close, Ilkley, where an attempt was made to set it alight.

Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg of Bradford District CID, who is leading the investigation, said: “We believe that the vehicle the offenders used was stolen from Merseyside in December and has possibly been stored locally since then, so we would be interested to hear from anyone who saw a new-shaped silver Honda Civic in their area before last Thursday.

“After dumping and setting this alight in Hampshire Close approximately 20 minutes later, the occupants escaped in a white vehicle.

“This is believed to have been a van, but we would like to know more information about this vehicle and where it went.

“We would also appeal to anyone who took pictures or video of the incident to contact Bradford District Reactive CID on 101 and pass on this footage, as it might prove vital in our investigation.”

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.

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