A JEWELLERY thief has stolen “tens of thousands of pounds” of pricey rings during a raid that saw 50 items stolen from an antiques centre.

Battlesbridge Antiques Centre was targeted by a lone crook who smashed through a window and fled with a between 40 and 50 rings and earrings.

The thief was captured on CCTV smashing a display case before filling a bag with jewellery at roughly 5.30am yesterday morning.

Antiques centre manager, John Bedford, has been left furious and the centre is now facing a hefty repair bill.

Mr Bedford has released CCTV images of the suspect and fears he had visited the centre previously as he knew “exactly where” the jewellery was displayed.

Escape - A man captured on the businesses CCTV leaving with a bagEscape - A man captured on the businesses CCTV leaving with a bag (Image: Battlesbridge Antiques Centre)

He said: “This was a targeted attack, the thief went straight for this cabinet and worked out a route of access, I feel terrible as a landlord.

“He broke in through a window, it’s usually a few people but this was one man.

“We feel terrible for the seller as well, who suffered a great loss and the secondary market value of this will be a fraction of their price after evaluation.

“He has caused potentially thousands of pounds of damage for a couple of hundreds of pounds; we have a lot of damage that has been dealt.

“We are all victims and it’s all for a few hundred pounds.”

Mr Bedford added that the items stolen were mainly rings and earrings from one seller including gold, silver and gemstones embellishments.

Assistant manager, Susie Machen, added: “If this attack really was by an opportunist, they would have looked around but for this man to just go for this cabinet shows they had cased it out really.

“They have blatantly been there and seen it, he smashed the window and went straight for it and also tried a fire escape to get out.

“It’s happened before not to this extent.”

A police spokesman said: “Shortly before 8.40am, we received a report of a burglary at a business premises in Maltings Road, Battlesbridge.

“It was reported to have taken place at around 5.30am that morning.

“It was found a window to the premises had been smashed and jewellery taken from within.

“Our enquiries into this incident are ongoing.

“Please cite incident 190 of 10 June.