It was the four minute robbery in Glasgow's famous Argyll Arcade that shocked the country and terrified those who witnessed it.

A gang of masked thugs wearing gloves attacked a security guard, during an armed raid on a series of high end jewellers shop, netting them almost £230,000 worth of luxury watches.

Brandishing hammers, axes and bats the robbers ran the length of the arcade before escaping into Buchanan Street and then a waiting getaway car.

Earlier they had travelled from Edinburgh stopping in Queen Street close to the arcade, which at the time housed more than 30 jewellers and diamond merchants.

Four of the five men got out of the car - two carrying baseball bats, one a sledgehammer and one an axe. One of them was also carrying a holdall. Their driver remained within the vehicle.

The armed robbers stormed the busy mall around 12:40 on September 24, 2014, and first raced inside the Rox store smashing a window display.

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Terrified staff and customers looked on as 21 expensive watches were tossed into bags.

CCTV showed shoppers fleeing in terror including a woman pushing a baby in a buggy during the four minute raid.

A brave guard, George Ferrier, dressed in the arcade's traditional uniform complete with top hat, gave chase in a bid to stop the raiders and also tried to summon help using his radio.

He also bravely shepherded staff into shops and telling them to lock themselves in.

One of the robbers however turned on George, hitting him on the legs with a hammer bringing him to the ground.

The CCTV also showed the gang making a last–ditch attempt to boost their haul by smashing the window of Mappin and Webb jewellers on the way out – but then failing to grab any valuables from the display.

Four jewellery shops in total had been targeted. But the gang only got away with the watches from Rox.

They were eventually foiled when a member of staff at a branch of Laing's pressed a panic button and activated a smoke system which disorientate the raiders and appeared to frighten them off.

Some shoppers filmed the men on their phjones as they fled the arcade and escaped down an alley to a getaway car waiting in Queen Street.

In video footage taken of the raid, one gang member is heard saying: "Out the way or I will kill you all."

George was stretchered out out the arcade by paramedics and treated in Glasgow Royal Infirmary for his leg injuries before being released.

The robbers escaped in a white Volkswagen Golf which was found about a mile away on St James Road in Townhead They abandoned the Golf there, got into a white Vauxhall Combo van and sped off, joining the M8 and heading east towards Edinburgh.

In the aftermath of the robbery around 50 eye witnesses were ushered into several police vans and taken to a city centre station, where statements were taken.

A 55 year old woman, from Glasgow, was window shopping in the arcade when the raiders struck.

She told one reporter: "It was utterly terrifying. I am still shaking all over.

"I was looking at the watches and the diamonds in Laings when these men with balaclavas and what looked like bats came storming in. It was like a nightmare.

"I got into Laings and they locked the doors and the next thing I can remember is the police arriving.

"I am in total shock.

"It is the sort of thing you never think will happen to you."

However it wasn't just the public who had been left traumatised.

In an interview ten days after the robbery George Ferrier, then 56, said he had been unable to return to work As well as suffering back and leg injuries, the grandfather from Springburn was left with severe stress and trauma.

He also had difficulty in sleeping and was signed off sick for two weeks George said:"It has been a tough time, I am still not over it."

Four months later five men including Gordon McLay, 31, Jason Yendall, 29, and Jason Britton, 23, were charged with robbery and attempted robbery at the Argyll Arcade in Glasgow.

They all stood trial at the High Court in Glasgow in June 2015.

The five had also held up an RBS bank in Tollcross, Edinburgh, stealing £20,000.

Yendall, Britton, and another man, also 23, who cannot be named for legal reasons pleaded guilty to being involved in both raids.

McLay and a 30 year old associate, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted taking part in the bank robbery as well as the reset of two watches taken from Argyll Arcade.

Yendall was locked up for 12 years and nine months, the 23 year old got ten-and-a-half years, while Britton was sentenced to five years and ten months.

The 30 year old was jailed for seven and a half years and McLay to six years.

The trial judge, Lord Turnbull, had told them: "This behaviour can truly be described as serious and organised criminal conduct.

'This involved planning, determination and the calculated use of violence. Some of you are career criminals to which such conduct comes easily."

The gang all had a criminal past.

Yendall was back on the streets despite being locked up for five years in 2012 for another robbery.

He, Britton and the 23 year old were friends from Manchester.

McLay and the 30 year old knew each other from living in Wallyford, East Lothian. McLay was previously a talented chef who had worked in Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh The value of the Argyll Arcade haul - which was never recovered - totalled £229,601.

Prosecutor Sheena Fraser described both robberies as 'very well organised crimes' involving stolen vehicles and registration plates.

The day before the Argyll Arcade raid the three Manchester crooks had carried out a 'dry run' of the route to and from the scene.

Referring to the robbery itself Miss Fraser said:"Members of the group in the arcade were shouting and banging on other shop windows.

"This generated a great deal of fear and panic, as it was busy with public and staff from other shops.'"

However the robbers weren't as careful at covering up their tracks.

Only a few hours after the raid, McLay and his associate were spotted in a bookmakers in Wallyford wearing watches taken from the Argyll Arcade.

In the following days, Yendall made a number of internet searches looking for second-hand watch websites to offload the stolen merchandise.

The court was told that 19 luxury Hublot watches had been taken - with one valued at £23,000.

Yendall was back in Scotland just over a week later with Britton and the third Manchester man to carry out the RBS robbery.

By this time police were keeping tabs on the 30-year old pal of Mclay who had been spotted buying four balaclavas and an axe at a B&Q store in Edinburgh.

He had arranged for the three Manchester men to stay at a flat close to the RBS that was being targeted.

On October 2 - the day of the Edinburgh robbery - police officers noticed some of the gang getting into a van used in the Glasgow watch raid.

The three Manchester crooks - all masked and carrying weapons - then held up the bank after two of them jumped over the counter.

They eventually fled with £19,675 - warning staff not to call police.

After initially escaping in a van, they then jumped into a waiting Ford car in which were the two Wallyford crooks.

But the vehicle was soon stopped by police with two axes found in the back.

Three of the gang had the stolen money on their persons - including £400 hidden in socks.

On one mobile phone police found photographs of Britton wearing a watch stolen from Rox.

At the end of the trial, Detective Inspector Alasdair Barlow, senior investigating officer, said of the watch robbers"This was a horrendous incident which unfolded in broad daylight in the middle of a busy Glasgow shopping centre.

'These men had absolutely no regard for the terror they were causing innocent shoppers as they rampaged through the Argyll Arcade. They were brazen and no doubt thought they had gotten away with it, even to the point that they were involved in another robbery in Edinburgh just days afterwards.

'However, thanks to the assistance from the public and vital information we uncovered during the lengthy investigation, we were able to identify the men involved and hold them to account for their actions."