A HAVE-a-go jeweller foiled would-be thieves in Aldershot, fighting off one who had pulled him over a counter and grabbed a tray full of bracelets.

Mick Tooley, co-owner of Centre Antiques in the Wellington Centre, was determined the thieves would not get away with it and struggled to hold on to the gems.

The thief managed to empty some into a bag, but a colleague of Mr Tooley's chased the thieves through the centre yelling "Stop thief!" as stunned shoppers looked on in amazement.

The drama unfolded between 11.20am and 11.30am on Thursday (3 Jan) as a man made a lunge for the bracelets.

Another man was hovering by the shop door, although police are not yet certain he was involved.

A third man was revving the getaway car, a stolen blue Fiesta, by the centre's delivery area between Jenny's Restaurant and the £ or Less store.

Mr Tooley suffered badly grazed shins as the thief hauled him over the counter as he grabbed the tray of bracelets, worth around £5,000.

Mr Tooley, though, struck back and held on grimly to the tray as the thief emptied what he could into a red checked back and ran off.

A staff member of nearby Dorset Frames heard the commotion.

She said: "I looked up to see someone chasing the man, who was clutching a red checked nylon bag. The man chasing him was yelling for someone to stop him and they both went out of the centre. When the man from the jeweller's came back he had the red bag in his hand, but there was no sign of anyone else."

She said the thief was tall and slim and was wearing jeans. He appeared to be in his twenties.

The commotion was also heard by Lee Sinclair, of Milletts, opposite Centre Antiques, who was working on a window display at the time.

Police later said they were not yet certain whether two or three people were involved, but they confirmed the thieves did not get away with anything. Police are studying video footage from the centre's cameras.

They described the man who made a grab for the bracelets as aged 23-25, at least 5ft 7ins, possibly taller, with short dark hair, not cropped. He was clean-shaven and was wearing dark clothes.

Police have linked the crime to a similar incident at a jeweller's in Station Road, Aldershot, on December 12.

A police spokesman said: "It's the same M.O. and description."