MASKED robbers, armed with wooden bats, burst into a gallery in a Hampshire village today.

In the terrifying drama the trio attempted to smash one of the glass cabinets which was showcasing jewellery at the Wickham Square Gallery in The Square at Wickham.

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There were no direct threats made against members of staff and the robbers fled empty handed.

They got into a vehicle parked in the square being driven by a fourth man and made their escape by driving onto the A32 in a northerly direction out of Wickham.

The vehicle, a green Nissan 4x4 style car, was found abandoned about a mile up the A32 by police at the Kingsmead junction with Bishopswood Road, near The Roebuck pub.

The suspects are described as wearing black balaclavas and black clothing.

The registration number of the Nissan is X548 BPR.

No one was harmed during the incident.

Detective Inspector Gary Hill said: "We would appeal to anyone who was in the square at the time to come forward as soon as possible if they saw the incident take place.

"Additionally, we want to hear from anyone driving along the A32 subsequent to the incident to get in touch. There is a likelihood that someone witnessed the suspects driving away and abandoning the vehicle they were in.

"We believe they may have changed to another vehicle to make their escape.

"This is an extremely serious incident that thankfully does not occur often and the public's help is of vital assistance in tracking down those responsible."

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information about it should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 0845 045 45 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.