Published: 12:58, 13 June 2019
| Updated: 14:54, 13 September 2019
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE
A family run shop in a seaside resort was violently robbed of thousands-of-pounds-worth of gold and diamonds.
Senak jewellery store in the Northern Cyprus harbour town of Kyrenia, owned by the Askay family, was targeted by two thieves last Thursday (June 6).
Gulesen Aksay - whose daughters lived in Rochester whilst studying - was tied up, her head smashed against a counter and was gagged with cling film whilst the robbers stole £130,000 of jewellery.
Her husband Huseyin, 50, stumbled across the robbery and tried to chase after them as their made off with their loot.
The also made off with about £2,000 in cash.
The Aksays have family in Rochester, where their daughters Buse and Ulsen also lived whilst studying.
Ulsen, 25, attended the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester between 2012 and 2015.
The shop is run by their dad Huseyin and mother Gulesen, 45, who is also known as Rose.
According to local media, the robbers were seen in nearby town Nicosia following the robbery, where they were captured on CCTV.
Police in the area have distributed pictures of the suspects.
Family friend Sarah Hawes, who owns a Kent-based PR company, said: "These are friends my parents met on the first day they moved to Cyprus 16 years ago.
"My parents got caught in a thunderstorm in the harbour and sheltered on the doorstep of the diamond shop – they were invited in by Rose and Huseyin and have been friends ever since.
"We’ve watched the girls grow up and our families are firm friends.
"Rose is a very mild, kind and gentle person so for this to happen has been awful."