Balaclava-clad robbers armed with hammer and knife leave Colchester Tesco Express staff terrified

CCTV images of two men police want to speak to in connection with an armed robbery in St Christopher

CCTV images of two men police want to speak to in connection with an armed robbery in St Christopher Road, Colchester. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

Community leaders are urging residents to be vigilant after a pair of balaclava-clad men armed with a hammer and a knife robbed a Colchester corner shop.

Detectives said shop assistants and customers at the Tesco Express store in St Christopher Road were subjected to a “frightening ordeal” at around 9.10pm on Tuesday.

The masked pair entered the shop and threatened staff before stealing cash from the till, although no-one was hurt.

Colchester council leader Paul Smith, who represents the St John’s ward, said it is the second time that row of shops has been targeted this year.

Another armed robbery took place at the next-door newsagent, McColl’s, in March.

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Mr Smith said: “It must have been terrifying for everyone involved.

“I have spoken to the police and crime commissioner about this issue because I think the increase in these sorts of incidents is a direct effect of a reduction in police numbers.

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“St John’s is still one of the safest places in Colchester.

“But I would say for people to vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police immediately.”

A spokesman for Tesco confirmed the incident took place at their St Christopher Road Express store.

They said: “We can confirm a robbery took place in our Colchester St John’s Express store yesterday evening.

“We are relieved that no-one was injured and are supporting colleagues and customers, as well as assisting the police with their investigation.”

Police released CCTV footage of men they wish to speak to in connection with the incident as they continue with their investigation.

Both are described as wearing dark clothing and gloves – one black pair and one red pair. One of the men is believed to be in his 30s and wore a grey top.

Detective Sergeant Stuart Knight said: “Masked men entered the store brandishing a hammer and a knife.

“They have then threatened staff and have forced them to open the till before fleeing. “Fortunately no one was hurt but the shop assistants and customers experienced a frightening ordeal.”

To help, call Colchester CID on 101 quoting incident number 962 of November 7.

Or, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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