POLICE dramatically swooped on a car on a busy road near Bridport as part of an operation to track down suspects after a jewellery raid.

Shocked motorists told how several police vehicles descended on a vehicle on the A35 between Dorchester and Bridport yesterday afternoon.

It came after what police described as ‘high value’ jewellery was stolen from a shop in Abbotsbury.

Police put out a major alert after the theft from Rodden Antiques about 3pm.

Just over an hour later, officers swooped on a car on the A35 close to the Walditch junction.

An eyewitness said: “At first there were four police vehicles, then another car pulled up and then a van.

“I thought there must be something going on as it was quite out of the ordinary.

“From what I could see they took one man out of the car and took him away.

“They had pulled over the car in the bus stop, just before you reach Bridport.”

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We have got three people in custody helping us with inquiries in relation to the theft.

“I can confirm that the shop involved in the theft was Rodden Antiques.”

It is understood the shop has recently opened up.

A spokesman for Rodden Antiques said a nine carat Edwardian watch and an Edwardian ring were taken in the theft but he was unable to comment any further.

Residents in Abbotsbury said they were shocked to hear of the theft.

Colin Boxshall, landlord of the Ilchester Arms on Market Street, said: “Abbotsbury is generally a very low crime area so everyone here in the village has been very surprised to hear news of the theft. We never get any problems in Abbotsbury whatsoever so this is just truly shocking; I don’t think anyone was expecting something like this to happen.

“If anyone has any more information please do inform the police.”

Abbotsbury resident Lynne Simonds said said: “I’m very, very sad to hear of this, it’s so sad for a shop that’s just started up. It’s really awful.

“I think everyone will be on high alert after something like this and I’m very sorry for everyone involved.”

Arthur Cartlidge, of Abbotsbury Antiques, said he was shocked to hear of the theft.

He said: “They have only just opened up and it’s awful that this has happened.”