Police seize 250 watches in pawnbroker raid

Police think the watches may have been stolen in so-called "hugger muggings". Credit: Metropolitan Police

Police have seized 250 luxury watches worth at least £1.5m in a raid on an unlicensed pawnbroker's in Westminster.

One of the watches alone - a Breguet Tourbillon model - is worth around £100,000 and the least valuable is thought to be worth around £5,000. They include luxury brands like Rolex, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Franck Muller and Breitling.

Officers believe some of watches could have been stolen in a recent spate of so-called "hugger-muggings" in the West End. Between January and April this year there have been at least 40 separate incidents in which a high-end watches have been stolen.

"Hugger-muggers" approach their victims in a friendly manner in bars or in the street and use distraction techniques, such as "high-fiving" them, hugging them or launching into an impromptu dance. Only later do the victims realise that they have been stolen from.

Detective Inspector Andrew Fleming said: "We would urge anyone who has recently lost or had a valuable watch stolen to contact us with the make, model, serial no and details of where they reported the loss/theft to police to help further our investigation. "

A 39-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the raid and bailed pending further enquiries.