Armed robbers strike at village store

By James HoreARMED raiders forced three shop assistants to open up a safe before escaping with thousands of pounds. The workers were about to set the alarms at the West Bergholt branch of the Co-op when two balaclava-clad men carrying bolt cutters and a hammer pushed their way through the back door.

By James Hore

ARMED raiders forced three shop assistants to open up a safe before escaping with thousands of pounds.

The workers were about to set the alarms at the West Bergholt branch of the Co-op when two balaclava-clad men carrying bolt cutters and a hammer pushed their way through the back door.

One of the men then “repeatedly and aggressively” shoved the key holder, Liz Shear, as they forced her and her two colleagues, Tanya Holden and Melanie Parkin, 16, through to the back office to open the safe.


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The men stole £4,795 and £450 of saving stamps, leaving the staff shaken but unhurt in the raid, which happened at the Chapel Road store just after 10pm on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the Co-op said: “All of the staff were badly shaken and they all will be offered counselling.”

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A hammer has been recovered from the scene and CCTV footage of the raid has been handed to police, who sent a forensic team to the store yesterday to check for fingerprints.

Monday's robbery was one of a number of incidents to take place at Co-op stores in East Anglia this year with its Dedham and Claydon branches also targeted by raiders.

The robbers wanted for the latest raid were described as wearing balaclavas and industrial-style yellow gloves.

The first man was about 6ft tall and wearing blue jeans, dark shoes and a red top, while his accomplice was about 5ft 11in tall and wore a chain around his neck, a black jacket, blue jeans, white trainers and a black top with a stripe across it.

Anyone with information should contact Colchester police on 01206 762212.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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