AN antiques shop in a usually quiet Yorkshire Dales market town was ram-raided by burglars in the early hours of Saturday morning, who stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery.

Richard and Diane Green, owners of Richard Green Antiques Centre, in Market Place, Middleham, said they were woken by neighbours who saw a car outside the shop - but by the time they realised there was a break-in it was too late to record the number plate.

Mr Green said: “We don’t live on site but are only two doors down from the shop.

“A neighbour opposite the shop had got up in the night at around 4.30am and spotted the car outside the shop, but didn’t think anything of it until he looked again and saw they had broken in and were driving away.

“It must have been incredibly quick. They had a large garden stake post and broke the three locks we have on our front door.

“It seems like they knew what they were looking for because they only took the gold and diamond jewellery from four cabinets, nothing else.”

Mr Green said his neighbour saw two men in a dark coloured car, possibly an estate car, drive off towards Leyburn after fleeing from the shop.

All of his best jewellery has now gone, and Mr Green said he and his wife were shocked by the incident which is highly unusual for the town.

Some of the more unusual pieces included a Victorian citrine brooch, with a pale yellow translucent stone. It is about an inch and a half long and oval shaped, with gold gothic filigree surrounding the stone.

Another brooch was described as being an oval with pointed ends, known as a mandala shape with a polished ruby and a diamond inset in the middle with stars in the gold setting.

Also missing from the cabinets which were distinctive items were cut-glass salt and pepper pots with silver tops, and a Worcester porcelain polygon shaped red letter box with a gold top.

North Yorkshire Police would like to speak to anyone with any information.

Call 101, select option 2, and speak to Northallerton CID, or call Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111, quoting reference number 12130026184.