Shop manager tells of raid terror

By Becky HallewellA PETRIFIED shop manager was frightened into handing over thousands of pounds by a masked intruder.Dan Somers, 23, was working alone at the Farmfoods store in The Newlands, Witham, on Monday evening.

By Becky Hallewell

A PETRIFIED shop manager was frightened into handing over thousands of pounds by a masked intruder.

Dan Somers, 23, was working alone at the Farmfoods store in The Newlands, Witham, on Monday evening.

The store had been closed for some time when Mr Somers was confronted at about 7pm by the intruder, who demanded to know where the safe was.


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The intruder's face was almost completely covered by a scarf and he kept one hand in his pocket, as though he was holding a weapon.

Still in a state of shock, Mr Somers said yesterday: “I was shaking so much, even when the police came. The worse thing was that he did not threaten me, or anything - it was just his tone.

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“I turned round and there was a man staring at me. All he said was 'Where's the safe?'

“Then he said it again - more furiously. Something told me to take him to the safe. I'm sure it was his eyes, they were very intimidating. I'm still shaking now.”

Mr Somers opened the safe and the robber emptied most its contents into a bag. He then became verbally abusive and demanded the shop manager helped him.

“He grabbed hold of me by my shirt collar and used me to open the door. And when he let go I stumbled in there,” said Mr Somers.

“I put a till into a bag but I was shaking so much that a lot of the cash fell on the floor. It was not very nice being in a small room with someone who wants your money.”

Mr Somers, who has been managing the store since December, said the man fled via the fire escape with about £5,000 to £6,000.

“He just walked out. I stayed in the safe room. That was the most intimidating thing, thinking what the hell is going on,” he added.

Although Mr Somers was left nervous and badly shaken by the experience, he remained defiant.

“I won't be driven out of my job for something like that. I've still got a family to feed,” he said.

The intruder was described as aged about 25, 6ft tall, well-built, of mixed race with a clear voice and an Essex accent.

He was wearing an oversized dark-blue hooded top pulled down to eye level, grey trousers, black gloves, had a blue scarf over his face and carried a rucksack.

Anyone with information should contact Witham police on 01376 501212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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