Store raided for the fourth time

By Patrick LowmanDETECTIVES have appealed for witnesses after raiders targeted a town store for the fourth time in just over two months.Staff at the Co-op store in Clare were subjected to a terrifying ordeal when three masked men, armed with a shotgun, a screwdriver and a wrench, burst in at 10pm on Thursday.

By Patrick Lowman

DETECTIVES have appealed for witnesses after raiders targeted a town store for the fourth time in just over two months.

Staff at the Co-op store in Clare were subjected to a terrifying ordeal when three masked men, armed with a shotgun, a screwdriver and a wrench, burst in at 10pm on Thursday.

Two members of staff, who were about to close the branch for the night, were forced to lie on the floor, while a third was threatened with the screwdriver and forced to open the safe.


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The robbers took cash from the safe and then fled in a red H-registered Ford Orion, which had been stolen earlier in the evening from the Grampian Food site in Little Wratting.

Although no-one was hurt during the raid, the three employees were said to be in a state of shock yesterday.

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Staff are still reeling from the three previous raids on the store and Suffolk police said officers were to investigate a possible link between all four incidents.

Detective Sergeant Barry Byford, of Suffolk police, said: “This must have been a terrifying ordeal for the members of staff who were in the store at the time of the robbery. Fortunately no-one was hurt, but all three were left shaken by the incident.

“It is likely the red Orion used in this offence will have been abandoned by the offenders not far from the robbery. As such, we would ask people to be vigilant and report any sighting of such a vehicle.

“It is also likely that there were people socialising in pubs close to the store who may have information to assist us with our enquiries.”

The store was first targeted on October 20 when burglars broke in during the early hours and stole cigarettes.

Then on November 4 ram-raiders used a stolen Ford Fiesta to smash through the front of the shop and fled with a large quantity of cigarettes.

Just weeks later, on December 1, three masked men shattered the front window of the shop and escaped with more cigarettes.

A Co-op spokesman said: “We have now handed over CCTV footage to the police and once again we will be reviewing all our security procedures.”

A Suffolk police spokesman added: “We are now investigating a possible connection between the latest robbery at the store and the previous incidents and others of a similar nature which have occurred elsewhere the county in recent weeks.”

Meanwhile, five men arrested in connection with the armed robbery at the Spar Store in Long Melford on Tuesday have been released on police bail until March.

Anyone with information on the Clare robbery should contact Suffolk police on 01284 774100.

patrick.lowman@eadt.co.uk

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