Celebrity antiques dealer who has starred on TV alongside David Dickinson is attacked by hammer-wielding thugs as they steal jewellery worth thousands from his store


Celebrity antiques dealer Ian Towning was the victim of a violent robbery by hammer-wielding thugs who stole thousands of pounds of jewellery from his store, MailOnline can reveal.

The 73-year-old, who has appeared on TV shows Dickinson’s Real Deal and Posh Pawn as a guest expert, was among three people who were injured after the robbers stormed into a small arcade in Chelsea.

He was behind the counter of the Bourbon Hanby Arcade – which specialises in expensive antique jewellery – when the men burst inside.

Police said three people on the premises sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the raid on Tuesday just after noon.

The raiders, wielding hammers and machetes, got away with thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and antiques, after smashing glass display cabinets containing the gems and silverware.

Celebrity antiques dealer Ian Towning, 73, who has appeared on TV shows Dickinson's Real Deal and Posh Pawn as a guest expert, was among three people who were injured after the robbers stormed into a small arcade in Chelsea

Celebrity antiques dealer Ian Towning, 73, who has appeared on TV shows Dickinson’s Real Deal and Posh Pawn as a guest expert, was among three people who were injured after the robbers stormed into a small arcade in Chelsea

Towning was behind the counter of the Bourbon Hanby Arcade ¿ which specialises in expensive antique jewellery ¿ when the men burst inside

Towning was behind the counter of the Bourbon Hanby Arcade – which specialises in expensive antique jewellery – when the men burst inside

CCTV cameras on the outside of the arcade in Sydney Street and CCTV inside the shop would have captured the terrifying raid.

A neighbouring business owner said the police had taken away the CCTV footage.

He said:’ I wasn’t here but it sounded absolutely terrifying for Ian and the people who were in the store.’

Police are appealing for dash cam footage from motorists who might have captured the raiders leaving the store.

Towning’s store is known as the ‘jewel in the crown’ on the King’s Road, the fashionable street in London which was at the heart of the Swinging Sixties.

As an expert in vintage jewellery, he made regular appearances on the ITV series ‘Dickinson’s Real Deal’ alongside perma tanned presenter David Dickinson.

He has also appeared as a guest expert on the Channel Four show ‘Posh Pawn’ and is very active on social media where he promotes new items that have arrived at his store.

It is not the first time he has been the victim of a brutal armed raid.

In 2008 he was left blooded and bruised after tackling an armed gang who smashed up his premises which has his photograph on a billboard outside the entrance.

He fought back when three men carrying sledgehammers and a gun raided the store but suffered damage to his teeth and broken jaw.

Six years after the raid Towning revealed on social media that one of the robbers had called him to apologise.

He wrote: ‘I received a phone call from the man who said he was the one responsible for the attack on me personally. 

Towning's store is known as the 'jewel in the crown' on the King's Road, the fashionable street in London which was at the heart of the Swinging Sixties

Towning’s store is known as the ‘jewel in the crown’ on the King’s Road, the fashionable street in London which was at the heart of the Swinging Sixties

‘He said that he had changed, and that he was only sixteen years old at the time, and that his life in prison – he served four of eight years – had made a new man of him. He was now married and settled with a job, he then asked me to forgive him for what he had done. 

‘I said that I had moved on, I had my jaw repaired and my teeth fixed and that life goes on and yes I did forgive him and I hold no malice towards him.’

Towning’s store remained closed today with a paper sign on the front door posted two days ago informing customers only those with an appointment would be admitted.

On the front window of the store another sign warned that no one wearing a hood would be admitted.

The raid has left store owners in Sydney Street and the nearby Kings Road frightened.

One said: ‘Ian is a flamboyant character and has been here for years. He must be very shaken up.

‘We all try to take precaution and every shop will have CCTV cameras, but the robbers don’t seem to care.

‘There are cameras all over the arcade where he works, but they did not seem bothered.’

Police said enquiries are continuing.

Detective Sergeant Richard Hall, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘I am appealing to the public to help us identify any potential witnesses who may have seen the incident unfold.

‘I am particularly keen to be provided with any dash cam footage or CCTV from the local area at the time. This may help us find our suspects.

‘If you know anything, or have witnessed anything suspicious in the Sydney Street area at the time then please come forward to police by calling 101 stating CAD 2933/26Mar.’



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