Knife-wielding robbers threatened staff at a Doncaster boutique yesterday before escaping with thousands of pounds worth of designer gear.
Members of the hooded gang are believed to have been waiting for Robinsons of Bawtry to open yesterday morning before bursting in and terrifying female assistants.
Owner Russell Jones was told he would be ‘slashed’ with the 10ins long butcher’s knife if he resisted the robbery.
It is the second armed shop robbery in Doncaster in less than a fortnight.
Mr Jones told The Star the raid will have cost him up to £10,000 in lost Ralph Lauren Polo shirts and Armani jeans after the racks were cleared.
He was upstairs in his office when his staff shouted for help about 9.45am.
“My initial reaction was that it was a customer creating a fuss, which would be unusual, and I came down to find this man with with a knife.
“He was shouting ‘come down the stairs or I’ll slash you’.
“He was holding the knife while two other men were filling holdalls with clothing.
“It was very frightening but the girls, Hannah Sharp and Laura O’Connell, bore the brunt of it because they were threatening the girls more than me.
“They were just peeling stuff off the rails while the one with the knife was making the threats. I think he spoke with a local accent.”
Mr Jones, whose wife, Wendy, was also in the shop, said he was grateful no customers were present.
The gang drove to the shop on South Parade in a Renault hatchback which clipped the kerb as it pulled up and lost a wheel trim.
Some of the men also appear to have dropped beanie hats which it is hoped might contain traces of their DNA.
The getaway car was found shortly afterwards in Scrooby, where it is believed the gang switched to another vehicle.
The shop was closed yesterday as police carried out forensic searches and interviewed staff.
Mr Jones said it was the first time the premises had been robbed and they were wary about making the shop more secure because they wanted it to be welcoming to customers.
He said: “They rob shops like ours because they can’t do a decent day’s work.”
Laura Handy, a receptionist at nearby law firm, The Byrne Practice, said: “We didn’t see a thing. The first we knew was when we saw lots of police cars pull up after it had happened. It’s normally quiet at this end of town.”
The robbery took place 12 days after armed men snatched thousands of pounds worth of gold and jewellery from Gary French in Baxter Gate, Doncaster.
A police spokesman said of the Robinsons raid: “Officers believe four men entered the shop and stole a large amount of designer clothing. One of the men was believed to have been carrying a knife.
“The men are believed to have left the scene in a beige Renault Laguna, which was found abandoned a short time later in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 283 of June 12 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.