POLICE hunting masked armed robbers who targeted a Darlington jewellers have stepped up their investigation.

Detectives yesterday (November 12) confirmed they were following a number of new leads in their pursuit of the gang, who used a sledgehammer to smash windows at D&H Jewellers, in Queen Street Shopping Centre, on Friday, November 9.

The four men, wearing balaclavas and tracksuits, made off with valuables thought to include Rolex watches.

They also threatened staff with a machete during the raid, though no one was hurt in the robbery, which took place just before 5pm.

The gang made off in a VW Touran van, which was waiting in Commercial Street, before dumping the vehicle in Dodds Street, Darlington, and transferring to a silver Ford Focus, which was later found in a field in Barton, North Yorkshire.

Detective Sergeant Paul Faulkner said: “We have lines of enquiry being investigated within a number of police departments.

“But we are still looking for any witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious earlier in the day in Dodds Street or in the shopping arcade itself.

“I urge anyone who saw something to contact us immediately.”

Detectives previously confirmed they had reviewed CCTV footage and had carried out forensic examinations on the Focus and the Touran, which was the registration number MM07 XAL.

Anyone with information about the robbery or who may have seen the vehicles either before, during or after the raid, should call the police on 101.