Police hunt armed raiders

POLICE were last nighthunting for two armed robbers after a pair of Ipswich shops were raided and terrified staff threatened with weapons.Officers are not linking the raids, which happened within an hour-and-a-half of each other, at the Bourne End Store in Wherstead Road and Victoria Wine in Meredith Road.

POLICE were last nighthunting for two armed robbers after a pair of Ipswich shops were raided and terrified staff threatened with weapons.

Officers are not linking the raids, which happened within an hour-and-a-half of each other, at the Bourne End Store in Wherstead Road and Victoria Wine in Meredith Road.

In the first robbery, which took place just before 7pm, a male worker behind the counter of the Bourne End shop was threatened by a masked gunman.

Inspector Mike Hinshelwood, of Suffolk police, said: "We got a call at 6.54pm to say that a male had entered the store and produced a handgun, whereupon he demanded cash.

"He was given an undisclosed amount of money and he then made off from the store on foot. Nobody was hurt and no shots were fired, although obviously the staff were left shaken by the ordeal.

"We don't believe there were any other people in the shop at the time of the incident.

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"Officers would be very pleased to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time and may have seen anybody acting suspiciously."

The raider was wearing a green jacket with the hood pulled up over his head and had a black mask or scarf over his face.

Shop owner Manish Patel, who lives above the store with his wife and two sons, said it was the first time they have ever been robbed in their 15 years at the store.

"It's a shock," he added. "It's not something that you would expect to happen in this part of Ipswich. I wasn't here at the time, but I've been told that the man came in, pointed a silver handgun at my member of staff and demanded that he enter the till.

"The staff member went for the alarm but was told by the gunman that, if he touched it, he would be killed."

After handing some money over and raising the alarm as the gunman ran off, the member of staff was taken home by police.

"He is pretty shocked but he is coping well," added Mr Patel, 41. "We have already got a good security system but against someone pointing a gun at you, there's not much you can do.

"We've closed for the evening but we'll be open again tomorrow. There's no way that we are going to let this get to us – we've got bulldog spirit."

Last night, as detectives began their investigation, people living near to the store spoke of their shock at the raid.

One local, did not want to be named, said: "I feel quite lucky because I was just about to go across to the store but I got watching television – otherwise I would have been right in the middle of it.

"I never heard anything. In all the years that I've lived along this road, I've never known of anything like this before. I'm just glad that no-one was hurt."

In the second robbery, a man wielding a crowbar burst into the Victoria Wine shop in Meredith Road at 8.25pm.

He threatened staff with the weapon before stealing the contents of the till and making his escape. No description of the raider has been released and no further information about the robbery was available as the East Anglian Daily Times went to press.

Anyone with information about either robbery should call Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on frephone 0800 555111.

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