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Police step up patrols after second armed attack in town’s ‘crime spot’

PUBLISHED: 19:00 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:46 15 January 2020

Richard Phillips received 18 cuts to his face and neck in the earlier armed robbery, which he says left him 'fearing for his life'  Picture: RICHARD PHILLIPS

Richard Phillips received 18 cuts to his face and neck in the earlier armed robbery, which he says left him 'fearing for his life' Picture: RICHARD PHILLIPS

RICHARD PHILLIPS

A mother is calling for “more to be done” after her son sustained 18 cuts to his face when attacked by masked robbers in a Newmarket “crime spot” – as police increase patrols in the area.

Kerry Phillips, whose son Richard was assaulted by an armed robber in a footpath known locally as Yellow Brick Road, says something needs to be done about the increasing crime in the area.

"There should be signs telling people not to go down Yellow Brick Road late at night as it's become too dangerous," she said. "Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously hurt."

Last week, Kerry's son Richard was walking to work when three masked men jumped out from bushes and demanded he hand over his possessions.

The 23-year-old tried to escape but was slashed in the face and neck with a sharp object 18 times - admitting that he "feared for his life" and "will never walk down the road again".

Richard Phillips received 18 cuts to his face and neck in the armed robbery. Picture: RICHARD PHILLIPSRichard Phillips received 18 cuts to his face and neck in the armed robbery. Picture: RICHARD PHILLIPS

Just three days later in the same road, a 56-year-old man was approached from behind and cut with a blade in an attempted robbery.

Speaking of the incidents, Detective Inspector Stephen Clarke said: "There have been a couple of incidents this week and we are investigating thoroughly. We will be carrying out increased patrols in the area.

"The incidents are not necessarily linked but we are keeping an open mind at this time. If anyone has any information regarding either of the incidents please speak to police.

"We are urging people to be vigilant and mindful of their own safety. If you do have any concerns please contact police on 999."

Richard's mum Kerry, who has lived in Newmarket for more than 15 years, said she has seen her hometown change dramatically.

She said she was "heartbroken" when she found out what happened to her son.

"When we moved here 15 years ago we would leave our doors open and walk anywhere, but it is so different now," admitted Kerry.

"The new CCTV down Yellow Brick Road is brilliant, and I really hope the cameras pick the men up. But I think more people should be warned about going down there at night, as it's becoming a crime spot."

Last year, CCTV was installed by West Suffolk Council to increase community safety as well as to tackle and prevent County Lines Crime - after residents asked for a solution.

Now, the council says it is "continuing to work with the community and partners to reduce opportunities for crime".

A council spokesman said: "The council is supporting the police in their enquiries.

"The Yellow Brick Road is a 1.7 mile stretch of footway across land in multiple ownership and West Suffolk Council works with landowners, the community, partners and local volunteers to find ways of making it safe and attractive for the community to use.

"We were able to find funding to cover the cost of installing CCTV last year in what was deemed the most vulnerable stretch at the time.

"As part of our work on the new skate park we are looking at improving lighting along the George Lambton Playing Field stretch.

"We deplore these assaults, not just because of the impact on the victims and their families, but on the wider community."

Those with any information should contact police on 101, quoting reference 37/1839/20 for the latest incident or 37/1202/20 for the robbery on January 6.


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