Assault, robbery and car-jacking in East Grinstead

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A man was forced from his car as two men failed to make a planned getaway on a motorbike after a robbery in East Grinstead on Thursday (August 14).

Seconds before, around 4.10pm, the two suspects had attacked two other men who were just getting into a white Land Rover parked in Portland Road, assaulting them and robbing one of them of a very valuable watch. They tried to make their getaway on a stolen black Yahama motorbike but it failed to start and they dropped it to the ground.

The driver of a Ford Mondeo pulled up at the scene believing that an accident had occurred and was made to get out of his car, which the offenders then drove off in. The car was found a short time later in a rural car park in Rabies Heath Road between South Godstone and Bletchingley in Surrey.

Detective Inspector Mark Cullimore said: “In the car park, the Mondeo was seen to be smoking slightly indicating that it had been driven fast and hard. Two black men got out of the car and transferred to a black BMW that had been waiting in the car park with a driver at the wheel.

“The men are described as in their late teens to early 20s, 5’ 10”, with short hair and wearing all black. One of them was seen to be carrying a knife at the time of the robbery.

“This was obviously a well-planned crime, targeted specifically at the two victims who work for a watch company and thwarted only by the failure of the motorbike to start. We believe that the motorbike had been parked in a small private car park off Portland Road for a day or so and may have been parked nearby before that.

“One of the victims was treated at the East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, but fortunately his injuries were not too serious. However, this was a violent crime and could have had much more serious consequences and we want to hear from anyone who was a witness or has any information about it.

“The watch is an Audermars Piguet limited edition and as such is very distinctive. It is is highly unlikely that it will be offered locally, but we will be circulating its description and serial number widely in an attempt to locate it.

“We are particularly interested in anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area in the last few days, especially if they were with the Yamaha motorbike. Did you see the Mondeo being driven, possibly very fast, from East Grinstead towards South Godstone or the BMW after it left the car park, heading for Bletchingley?

“If so, please email or call 101 quoting serial 1069 of 14/08. Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”