Raiders smashed their way in to a High Street store using axes during a terrifying raid in Braintree.

Two crooks on a moped targeted Cash Converters, in High Street, at around 1.50am this morning.

After smashing their way inside, the duo helped themselves to mobile phones and jewellery – although the exact value of the items stolen is not yet known.

Essex Police arrived whilst the crooks were still at the scene and two officers chased the suspects on foot.

It is not believed either was caught but the vehicle was later recovered.

Alastair Kay, who has owned the Cash Converters franchise in Braintree since 2003, said: “The police were absolutely fantastic.

“They arrived on the scene within four minutes.

“The police officers saw the axes these guys had but still chased them.

“I want to pass on my sincerest thanks to Essex Police.”

Braintree and Witham Times:

Mr Kay also praised store manager Liam Teller and employee Natasha Burgess for their hard work since the raid and said it was a relief no one was hurt.

He said: “I had to call them when I found out to get access to parts of the system and we have all been here pretty much since.

“The main thing is no one was hurt.

“Staff and customer safety is absolutely paramount to us.”

In the past three months, raiders have attempted to target the store on two previous occasions, and Mr Kay says the business has been forced to implement tough security measures.

He said: “This is the third time in the last 12 weeks they have tried to break in.

“Since the first time we have upgraded the CCTV and installed new shutters.

“Our alarm is now linked directly to the police.

“We believe they are after primarily mobile phones as that is the thing they went for first.

“We have had people try before, but this is the first time we have had people managed to break in in 24 years.

“We will be making further security upgrades after this incident.”

The whole terrifying incident was captured on CCTV, and Mr Kay is hopeful the culprits can be caught.

He said: “Things like this put businesses like mine in an even more vulnerable position and this is just another battle on the high street.

“We are hoping with the newspaper’s help and the police we can catch these people.”

The store is planning to offer a cash reward for information leading to a successful conviction. Details of which will follow soon.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We carried out a search of the area and enquiries are ongoing to find the suspects."

Witnesses should contact Braintree CID on 101, quoting reference 42/136253/18.

Or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.