The gang mingled with shoppers on the ground floor of the posh department store dressed in disguise as wealthy Arab women. At around 8.30pm, shortly before closing time, the gang pulled out concealed axes and sledgehammers and shattered cabinets containing luxury watches and jewellery.

“There were four men completely in burkas, posing as women carrying women’s handbags. At first I thought it was a shot, a spray of glass shattering, breaking – we heard that and people were just running about.” eyewitness Anuj Dabeesingh told the Evening Standard.

“I saw a staff member lying on the ground and then we saw four men running, trying to get away. That all happened in under a minute.”

Two members of the gang attempted to escape on a moped but crashed just under a mile away from the store. They were pounced on by members of the public. Two men were arrested by police.

“Someone noticed a bag had fallen off the moped and that it had opened and a bunch a watches fell out. The duffle bag was full of watches and jewellery.” Matthew Carrozo, 28, told the BBC.

A statement from Met Police read: “Police were called at approximately 8.30pm on Thursday 6 June to reports of a smash and grab inside Selfridges on Oxford Street.

“The gang armed with axes smashed cabinets before making off with items from the shop. It is not currently known how many people were involved.

“Two of the suspects came off their moped in nearby Goodge Street. Members of the public then prevented them from leaving before officers arrived and arrested the men.

“One of the men has been taken to hospital, we await an update on his condition. The second man is currently in custody.”