THIEVES got away with jewellery and money worth thousands after blowing up a safe in daring a raid on a Commercial Street jewellers in November 1959.

The haul, valued at £3,000 at the time - some £71,000 worth of goods in today's money - was stolen from the shop sometime during the night of November 2, 1959, with thieves blasting the lock of a 5ft by 4ft steel safe with explosives.

Only the most valuable jewellery was taken, with mock pearls and cheap watches left behind, which, it was reported, suggested the crime had been carried out by an experienced gang.

Police said that week that no evidence had been found to show whether or not the raid was in any way connected to large-scale raids on shops in Gloucester and Worcester during the previous two weeks.

The raided building housed a pawnbrokers and a jewellers' business conducted by George Thompson (Carnforth) Ltd, and it was believed that thieves had broken in through a skylight in the roof after sawing through quarter-inch steel bars.

The roof of the building had gable ends at the front in Commercial Street and at the back in Maylord Street, and it was thought the thieves either went along Chadd's passage or a narrow entry leading from Maylord Street, scaling up the walls and on to the roof from the side.

They then went into the office, which was in the centre of the building, while the shop premises was to the front and two empty warehouses were at the back.

Stock blankets and carpets were packed around the safe to deaden the sound of the explosion, with the raiders then sorting through the contents of the blown safe, taking a large sum of money and the most valuable jewels.

The robbery was discovered by manager James Henry when he arrived for work on Tuesday morning.

The local CID were immediately called in and a full-scale investigation carried out.

The Hereford Times reported that stocktakers employed by the jewellers were at the shop at the time of writing, but that it was understood £3,000 was a fair assessment of the property stolen.

The heist was the biggest crime of its type to be investigated by Hereford police for many years, only topped by the theft of jewellery worth around £4,000 which had been stolen from Hereford's Green Dragon Hotel in 1956, which was never discovered, despite a substantial reward being offered.