Westfield London has been targeted by a gang of robbers who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery.

A gang of at least 10 men in balaclavas raided the luxury area of the shopping centre, The Village, at 1.20am today, making off with jewellery from Tiffany & Co and De Beers.

They smashed their way in through a fire door using sledgehammers, and fled the scene as police arrived. A high-speed chase ensued but the thieves escaped.

The robbery is believed to be the first of its kind at Westfield London since the West London shopping centre opened in October 2008.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman told Sky News: “A group of up to 10 people forced access to the premises before breaking into two jewellery shops and making off with a quantity of goods.”

A Westfield spokeswoman said a “quantity of jewellery” was stolen but the centre would open as normal. She added: “Westfield is working closely with the Metropolitan Police to identify suspects and recover property.

“No-one was injured during the incident which took place whilst the shopping centre was closed and our on site security staff responded immediately as did the local police.”

The robbery is the latest in a string of raids on luxury stores in London.  Last August more than £1m worth of gems were stolen in less than a minute from the Mozafarian store in Knightsbridge.