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Raiders smash their way into west London Chanel shop after guard dogs are removed

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 19/03/2019 Justin davenport, Barney Davis
a car driving down a street © Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB

Raiders used a van to smash their way into a Chanel store in Knightsbridge and escape with thousands of pounds worth of designer goods.

The robbery came after the store removed guard dogs from the pop-up branch in Sloane Street following criticism on social media.

One witness told the Standard how the van driver, wearing a high-vis jacket, parked up opposite the store waiting for his accomplices to arrive at just before 2.50am yesterday.

He reversed through the front window three times, allowing gang members on mopeds to swoop in and raid the shelves before escaping, leaving the van embedded in the security grille.

The witness, who did not want to be named, told the Standard: “I thought he was a delivery driver. You wouldn’t have suspected a thing — he was relaxed as anything. I went to the toilet and then heard a smash and an alarm go off.

“The van reversed into the glass three times. Then the mopeds turned up. They got in there, grabbed the bags and got out so quickly.

The store removed guard dogs from the pop-up branch in Sloane Street following criticism on social media © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The store removed guard dogs from the pop-up branch in Sloane Street following criticism on social media

“The driver left the van parked in the front and escaped on the back of a moped. It was all over in three minutes.”

He said the shop — a pop-up opened while the main store is being refurbished — had been hit at least twice before in recent months.

Today, about 50 people were queuing outside, waiting for the brand’s new spring-summer collection. Shopper Mark Brown, 27, said: “I hope they haven’t taken everything — I wanted new trainers. The workers are fixing it up inside and said they’d be open later. This sort of thing is so common around here.”

Another shopper added: “They must have been going for the trainers — it’s the release day. They are £700 a pair but can sell them online for twice that. It’s ridiculous.”

The raid comes after controversy when it emerged Chanel was keeping two dogs in cages overnight in an attempt to deter raiders.

Former Made In Chelsea reality TV star Tabitha Willett posted images of the dogs on Instagram asking: “Chanel, why are there two dogs in tiny cages in your shop at 11pm?”

Chanel said the animals had been kept at the store after two serious “security incidents” — thought to be smash and grab raids in December. At the time, a spokesman said: “Due to two recent serious incidents in the Sloane Street boutique, Chanel has decided to reinforce the security measures by seeking the services of a dog handler.

“We understand the concern of those who care about animal welfare and we share it.

“We want to assure them that these two dogs, which are specially trained for this purpose, are released from their crates on a regular basis to stretch and exercise and there is a regular supply of food and water throughout the duration of their time in the boutique.”

However, after the Instagram posts prompted hundreds of comments with people expressing concern for the animals’ welfare, it is understood the dogs were removed.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “At this early stage there have been no arrests.” Chanel refused to comment this morning.

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