Manchester

Mayor of Bury's gold chains stolen by hammer attacker

Mayor of Bury Image copyright Bury Council
Image caption Mayor Michelle Wiseman had been at an event to commemorate those who died in World War Two

A hammer-wielding robber has stolen the ceremonial chains of the mayor and mayoress of Bury in a violent attack.

The raider hit the mayor's driver with the hammer as he loaded a briefcase containing the chains into the boot of the mayoral car on Thursday night.

The robbery took place at about 22:25 GMT while the car was parked in the Stand Lane area of Radcliffe.

The chains, said to be worth about £200,000, were gifted by Queen Victoria in 1877 and 1897.

The balaclava-clad robber was driven off in a green VW Polo that was waiting nearby.

The mayor, Councillor Michelle Wiseman, and her daughter Danielle, who is serving as mayoress, had been attending a service of remembrance for Radcliffe's RAF Cadets.

Rare item

Ms Wiseman said: "Everybody's shocked and outraged.

"The violent nature of the incident is absolutely appalling."

The mayor's chain was given by Queen Victoria in 1877 with the mayoress's chain a gift to mark the monarch's Diamond Jubilee 20 years later.

The jubilee chain is regarded as rare as it depicts the queen dressed in white, rather than her customary black.

Supt Karan Lee said: "This is a robbery that hits at the very heart of our town in more ways than one.

Image copyright Bury Council
Image caption The mayoress's chain (right) was given to the borough to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee

"Our mayoral party had just left a service commemorating the lives lost in the Second World War, protecting the lives and liberties of every one of us, to then be attacked in this way, by persons who have no pride or respect."

Supt Lee said the robbers were "ruthless and calculated", adding: "It is only by good fortune that the victim was not seriously hurt."

Councillor Mike Connolly, leader of Bury Council, said "Everyone connected to the borough of Bury and Bury Council will be appalled at this dreadful crime.

"The chains are an irreplaceable part of our heritage and so we are offering a substantial reward for their safe return."

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