Thieves on motorbike go on spree in Ditchling

Police are linking a break-in at a jewellers and an attempted break-in at a post office.

Two men travelling on a motorbike tried to break in to Ditchling Post Office in the early hours of Monday morning, police said.

Pruden and Smith owners Anton Pruden and Rebecca Smith (right) with Sophie Ahadzadeh and Mark Sibley. Photo by Steve Robards

Pruden and Smith owners Anton Pruden and Rebecca Smith (right) with Sophie Ahadzadeh and Mark Sibley. Photo by Steve Robards

After their failed attempt, the pair then smashed the window of nearby Pruden and Smith jewellers and stole necklaces worth £800 before leaving the scene on their bike, a spokesman added.

Police are appealing for people with information to come forward.

Anton Pruden, director of Pruden and Smith in South Street, said: “They couldn’t get in the post office so they turned their attention to us.

“They smashed our front window and just about got through a glass cabinet and grabbed some gold plate necklaces.

Pruden and Smith owners Anton Pruden and Rebecca Smith, with staff. Photo by Steve Robards

Pruden and Smith owners Anton Pruden and Rebecca Smith, with staff. Photo by Steve Robards

“Luckily they were only worth about £200 each – they took four of them. Most of our things are in the safe – it could have been a lot worse!”

Anton said CCTV footage had been passed on to the police. It is not the first time the jewellers has been targeted, he added.

He thanked his ‘brilliant’ neighbours in the flats above for raising the alarm.

“They woke up to it and shouted at them and they ran away,” he said.

Ditchling Post Office was also targeted. Photo by Steve Robards

Ditchling Post Office was also targeted. Photo by Steve Robards

“They then came down and swept up the glass and put a board up in our window – we didn’t have to do anything when we came down.

“It is a great example of what a community can do – they can work together. The community has been absolutely brilliant.”

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David Holmes, sub-postmaster at Ditchling Post Office in Lewes Road, said a neighbour across the road raised the alarm at 2am.

He said he was relieved that the thieves could not get in, but said the door had been damaged.

A police spokesman said: “Sussex Police is investigating a break-in at a jewellers and an attempted break-in at a post office in Ditchling.

“Two men, with their faces covered, drove up to the post office in Lewes Road on a motorbike around 2am on Monday, before attempting to break in to the premises.

“The pair then smashed the window of a nearby jewellers in South Street and stole jewellery before leaving the scene on a bike.

“Anyone with information on either incident is asked to report online or by calling 101 quoting 292 of 24/06.”