Clacton: Crime boss to hold talks after third armed robbery

THE new crime chief for Essex is set to hold discussions with police officers in Clacton after a third armed robbery was reported in the town.

Police issued an appeal for witnesses yesterday after a man brandishing a kitchen knife stole a three-figure sum of money from One Stop in St John’s Road.

The robbery, which happened on Sunday at 5pm, came just days after Natwest bank in North Road was targeted by robbers, one of whom was allegedly wielding a gun, on December 7. The raid was the second time the bank had been raided in less than a month.

On November 14, a gunman is alleged to have threatened staff at the same branch and ordered them to hand over money. He then ran out of the bank with a four-figure sum of cash.

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I am aware of the recent robberies in Clacton. They are concerning and I will have a chance to discuss them with local police officers in Clacton on Friday.

“One of my first priorities as PCC for Essex is to lead engagement between the police, local councils, MPs such as Douglas Carswell in Clacton, the community and victims to address crime concerns.

“The meeting on Friday was already arranged to talk about knife crime and to ensure we are all doing what we can to end that crime.

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Yesterday Essex Police arrested a 48-year-old man from Clacton and a 40-year-old man from St Osyth on suspicion of armed bank robbery. They were still being questioned by detectives last night.

MP for Clacton Douglas Carswell spoke out about the armed robberies.

“I think it’s appalling, it’s totally outrageous that we have armed robberies in Clacton,” he said. “These people need to be caught and put away.

“But it’s very encouraging the police have responded this quickly.”

Mr Carswell led a Parliamentary debate on knife crime on November 27 following the fatal stabbing of Clacton teenager Jay Whiston.

“I think armed robberies are a little bit different to teenagers carrying knives, they are separate issues, but the key lies in the sentencing,” he said.

“Clacton is a wonderful town and famous for so many things I don’t think anyone should look at these incidents and regards them as reflective of the town.”

Mr Alston said robberies have a major impact on small businesses and more needs to be done to tackle crime in Clacton.

He said: “Comparing April to October this year, with April to October 2011, there has been a thirty percent reduction in knife crime in Essex. This is a good start, but there’s still plenty of work to be done especially in some areas, as the recent crimes in Clacton demonstrate.

“So while robbery is relatively rare, when it does occur it can have a significant impact, especially on small businesses. It can affect staff and customers both physically and psychologically, as well as having a financial impact from the loss of stock or cash.

“Over the coming weeks, I have talks planned with business representatives from across Essex to understand what more can be done to reduce the risk and impact of robberies and other crime.”

Anyone with information about the armed robbery at the One Stop shop should call police on 101.

The man is described as white, aged 17 to 20, 5ft 10ins tall. He was wearing a grey hooded jacket, dark coloured trousers and dark shoes. He also had a dark coloured scarf around his face.

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