Yes, crime happened in 1945 as well, as evidenced by this report of a Leeds shopkeeper, who watched as three men raided the shop opposite him, stealing jewels in what was described as a smash and grab.
They made their attack on D S Hug, jeweller and optician in Kirkstall Road and got away with £50 worth of signet and wedding rings, leaving a gaping hole in the shop window.
Leonard Newell, a newagent on the opposite side of the road, was woken up at about 5am by the sound of breaking glass. He claims to have then seen two soldiers and a civilian raiding Hug’s premises, before making off in a waiting car.
He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I saw the civilian dash round from the broken window and jump into the car. One of the soldiers put his hand through the window and shouted ‘Hey, what’s your game?’” The soldiers then scrambled into the car, which drove off toward the city centre.
Mr Newell then apparently stood watch “in his night attire” to ensure nothing else was taken from the shop and when two workmen passed by, he shouted at them to raise the alarm to the police.
He later said: “It was dark and though the street lights were on my position made it difficult for me to get a good look at the men.
Proprieter of the jewellers, Mr H Minnithorpe, said: “I was asleep when it happened and at the back of the premises. I didn’t hear a thing. My first intimation was when the police knocked me up. There was no brick in the window or anything which could have broken it.”
It was the second time in 10 weeks that the shop had been the subject of a raid. On the first occasion, Mr Minnithorpe’s wife heard the side window being smashed and ran to the front of the shop, scaring the robbers away.