Armed gang strike at village store

By Patrick LowmanA 16-YEAR-OLD shop assistant was threatened by raiders armed with a sawn-off shotgun and baseball bat during a terrifying robbery at a village shop.

By Patrick Lowman

A 16-YEAR-OLD shop assistant was threatened by raiders armed with a sawn-off shotgun and baseball bat during a terrifying robbery at a village shop.

A gang of robbers struck at the Spar Shop in Long Melford at about 4.25pm on Tuesday and stole cash, scratchcards and a handbag before fleeing in a stolen blue Vauxhall Astra.

Shop owner Henry Byham said two women members of staff, one who is aged only 16, had been on duty at the time and had been left traumatised by their ordeal.


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“The men were very threatening and were shouting at the staff demanding the keys to the safe. The problem is the staff do not have that kind of access, but the men wouldn't believe them. They have been left extremely shocked and shaken by what has happened,” he added.

“There were two members of staff in the shop at the time and a third member who was not working, but was in the store. There were also a few customers and the robbers stole a handbag from one young lady.”

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The three men, all wearing balaclavas, burst into the Hall Street shop, armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a baseball bat and a branch from a tree.

They demanded access to the safe, but eventually stole cash from a till, some National Lottery scratchcards and a bottle of spirits.

After leaving the shop, the robbers fled in the stolen car and headed along Hall Street towards Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Byham said: “They were only in the shop for a couple of minutes and only caused minimal damage, but they have caused a lot of stress and anxiety.

“This was a terrifying ordeal for everybody involved and it certainly make us very nervous.

“We have to keep going because we provide a public service - that means we will still open, but unfortunately that also means we can't rule out some idiot walking in with a shotgun.

“We will now be reviewing our security systems to ensure we can make things as safe as possible for our staff.”

Detective Sergeant Vicki Williams, of Suffolk police, said: “The shop workers and members of the public who were threatened by the offenders have been left extremely shaken and upset by their ordeal.

“We believe the blue Astra which the three men were seen to leave the area in was a stolen vehicle. A similar car matching this description had been stolen from Colchester General Hospital earlier in the day.”

patrick.lowman@eadt.co.uk

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