Police issue warning over robbery gangs

POLICE investigating a spate of armed robberies believe there is more than one gang operating in East Anglia.Detective Sergeant Graham Moss, of Suffolk police, has now warned workers not to stand up to the “dangerous” offenders.

POLICE investigating a spate of armed robberies believe there is more than one gang operating in East Anglia.

Detective Sergeant Graham Moss, of Suffolk police, has now warned workers not to stand up to the “dangerous” offenders.

His comments came as the four-strong team investigates ten incidents, including armed robberies, ram raids and a break in, that have happened in the last two months - with an average of one a week in Suffolk.

While Det Sgt Moss said there were links between some of the offences, he added it was unlikely they had been committed by the same people.


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He said: “Obviously there are certain links that we are investigating, such as the clothing, ammo, the vehicles used in these types of offences, but it is not to say it is the same people on each occasion.”

However, he revealed the same offenders were thought to be behind raids in Newmarket, Barrow and a Post Office in Cambridgeshire on Tuesday.

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Det Sgt Moss described the incidents, which have seen robbers armed with weapons such as a shotgun, monkey wrench, crowbar and baseball bat, as “very frightening” and traumatic for the victims.

He said: “My advice would be not to have a go and to comply with anything that they request. They are dangerous people.

“At the present, there have not been any serious injuries but the trauma that is caused by these events cannot be dismissed. It must be very frightening.”

He said the spate of incidents was the worst since Operation Arctic, a campaign launched to stop a rising tide of robberies and ram raids on businesses during 2004 and 2005, which saw police investigate around 150 incidents across the region.

He said: “That was a far bigger scale than this and hopefully we will never see that repeated. It is a worrying trend at the moment.

“On occasions you get a team of offenders that are bent on this type of criminality and we have to act positively and quickly to stamp it out.”

In the latest incident in Birch Drive, Brantham, on Wednesday night balaclava-clad robbers brandishing a wrench and a broom handle held up a Co-op store.

Staff were threatened and forced to open the till and safe. They were not injured but were left shaken.

A silver Subaru GL car stolen earlier in the evening from Crossfields, Stoke by Nayland, was found abandoned in Church Lane, Brantham. It is believed the offenders may have used this vehicle.

An East of England Co-Operative Society spokeswoman said: “We would like to thank our staff for the way they handled this difficult situation. Thankfully, all those involved at the store are okay, although shaken.

“We hope the good CCTV pictures of the incident will assist the police in catching the people responsible.”

The raiders are described as white. The first, who was carrying the wrench, was in his early 20s, slim, 5ft 6ins, and was wearing a black home-made balaclava and dark clothing.

The second male was in his 20s, slim, 5ft 10ins and was also wearing a black home-made balaclava and dark clothing.

Anyone with information should call DC Mark Hedges on 01473 613872 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

November 8

Two men wearing balaclavas rob the Co-Op store in Birch Drive, Brantham.

November 7

Three balaclava-clad offenders armed with baseball bats used a stolen car to ram-raid the Post Office in Balsham Road, Linton, Cambridgeshire, but do not get into the safe.

The New-Mart shop in Brickfield Avenue, Newmarket, was then targeted and a shop worker needed hospital treatment after being hit over the head.

The Londis store in Barrow was also raided where staff were threatened with a shotgun and the shop manager was hit by a man brandishing a monkey wrench. The offenders escaped with cash.

October 13

Staff at East Bergholt Post Office and Store were threatened by robbers wielding a sawn-off shotgun, crowbar and baseball bat before money was stolen.

Earlier, ram-raiders used a truck to smash their way into the Post Office in Wickhambrook, near Haverhill, and tried to steal a safe.

The Assington Farm Shop and Post Office, near Sudbury, was also broken into and cigarettes stolen.

October 6

Three men - one brandishing an axe and one holding a crowbar - raided the Londis store in Exning, near Newmarket, and take cash from the till.

October 5

Two masked offenders, one armed with a shotgun and the other holding a piece of wood, raided the Co-Op in Nayland Road, Mile End, Colchester.

September 14

Two men armed with a shotgun and a piece of wood escape with cash from the tills and safe at the Co-op in Barking Road, Needham Market.

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