A DIAMOND ring was snatched from a town centre jewellery shop after a man posing as a customer asked to look at it.

The thief struck at Ernest Jones in Hotel Street, Bolton, this morning, by asking to look at the ring then grabbing it and fleeing.

Police were alerted just before 10am and the shop was closed with the security shutters pulled down after the theft of the expensive piece of jewellery. It had reopened by the afternoon.

No staff were threatened during the incident, but staff are now being offered counselling, Ernest Jones.

A spokesman for the jeweller, which boasts supplying the “very best in jewellery, diamonds, watches and gifts”, said: “A high value piece was taken, however no staff were harmed in the incident.

“Our efforts are currently focussed upon ensuring the welfare of our staff and we’ll be spending time with each of them to offer them counselling following this robbery.”

Police who spoke to shop staff have released a description of the man they are searching for.

He is said to be in his early 20s, white, slim, 5ft 10in tall and with wavy brown hair.

At the time of the theft he was wearing a blue jacket.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “The man was posing as a legitimate customer and grabbed the ring.

“Enquiries are ongoing.”

According to the jeweller’s website, Ernest Jones supplies diamond rings worth from £60 to £12,500.

The value of the stolen ring has not been revealed.

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