THREE masked men armed with a large hammer broke into a Halliwell jewellers’ shop.

The men are believed to have used the hammer to smash the door of the shop, before breaking display cabinets to steal jewellery.

They targeted Nouman Jewellers, in Halliwell Road, at about 5.45pm this afternoon.

It is believed the owner and his two sons were inside when the robbery took place.

Hiki Khan, from the Special Pound Shop next door, said the owner had been “shocked and shaken” after the incident.

Mr Khan said: “I heard a really loud bang and went out saw the three guys running off.

“I was surprised and did worry what was going on, and then I found out they had stolen some stuff.”

A police spokesman said three people were believed to have forced their way into the shop by damaging the door.

It is not known how much was stolen.

Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.