A SHOPKEEPER says she has been left "very shaken" after a gang of thieves targeted her while she was alone in the store, stealing £30,000 of jewellery.

Six or seven men entered the Premier Astwood Convenience store in Astwood Road and distracted the woman while one of them entered her home above the shop.

This man, who appeared to have a knife or screwdriver, then searched the flat and stole jewellery worth around £30,000 and the woman's passport.

The jewellery collection had been passed down to the woman through generations of her sikh family, she said.

Speaking to the Worcester News, the victim, who asked not to be named, said she has been left feeling "very shaken".

The landlord of the shop, who asked not to be named, said: "Six to seven men of Eastern European appearance - possibly Romanian - entered the shop.

"Some went to the back of the store while one stayed at the front and chatted to the woman.

"A man asked her about this price and that price of different items in the shop."

He said that one of the gang tried to enter the flat via the back of the store.

"He probably thought they could get to the upstairs flat straight through the back like most shops," he said. "Another person was outside the whole time watching then went to the side of the shop and entered the flat to steal.

"She comes from a hard-working Sikh family and has not been just given the shop," he added.

A resident living nearby was inside the store at the time the offence took place and said:"I remember feeling very uncomfortable as the group seemed fidgety, nervous, like they were up to something."

According to the witness, the ringleader was middle-aged and the rest were much younger.

"The leader was trying to distance himself from the rest of the group as if they weren't all together but it was clear they were.

"He bought mundane, random stuff and paid about £20 in cash for his items.

"It was odd as instead of handing over the money to the shopkeeper, he held the money in his hand and she had to take it from him, like he was testing her."

"He had a bad attitude," he added.

Another witness, who lives close to the shop, said: "I've seen the CCTV footage from inside the shop. The men enter the shop, mess around and a man outside walks around the side of the shop to get to the flat and is holding what looks like a knife or screwdriver."

He added: "I believe gangs come to Worcester from outside the area to steal then drive back to the safety of where they live."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said officers are checking the shop's CCTV and have carried out door-to-door enquiries in the area, in an effort to catch the thieves.