Ter­ri­fied worker left tied up dur­ing armed raid at ser­vice sta­tion

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY JAMES GANT

A SER­VICE sta­tion worker was tied up with his own belt dur­ing a ter­ri­fy­ing armed rob­bery.

The mem­ber of staff at Ap­ple­green near Bal­ly­mena was made to fill plas­tic bin bags with cig­a­rettes and money in the raid, which hap­pened be­tween 2.15am and 3.15am yes­ter­day.

Four men who were wear­ing ski masks, black coats, dark trousers and gloves left the man tied to a drinks ma­chine, but he man­aged to es­cape and raised the alarm.

De­tec­tive Sergeant Pe­ter Crothers said that the vic­tim had been ap­proached by a man out­side the premises, on the Crankill Road, who was armed with a hand­gun.

He di­rected the em­ployee back into the store and was then joined by three other males.

The of­fi­cer said: “At one point, the gun­man hid be­hind the till and in­structed the staff mem­ber to serve a fe­male cus­tomer.

“He then pro­duced clear plas­tic bin bags and in­structed the em­ployee to fill them with cigaand

Coun­cil­lor Ti­mothy Gas­ton

rettes. He also took a sum of cash and the con­tents of a char­ity box.

“The staff mem­ber was then tied up with his own belt and a length of wire to a drinks’ ma­chine. The em­ployee man­aged to free him­self af­ter a pe­riod of time and raise the alarm.”

Ap­ple­green said it could not com­ment yes­ter­day.

Lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives hit out at the cul­prits.

Coun­cil­lor Sam Hanna, who lives be­side the ser­vice sta­tion, said: “It’ll be out­siders com­ing in took the op­por­tu­nity. There’s only one per­son there at night from af­ter 11 o’clock.

“It’s locked up at night, it’s only a hole in the wall. It’s ab­so­lutely ridicu­lous.”

Coun­cil­lor Ti­mothy Gas­ton called for more po­lice.

He said: “I would like to see the po­lice hav­ing a greater pres­ence at that time of night, pay­ing at­ten­tion to more ru­ral busi­nesses to try to stop a re­peat of this hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture.

“It must be a very hor­rific ex­pe­ri­ence for the worker in­volved, it cer­tainly shook mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity that such a thing would hap­pen in the area.”

De­tec­tive Sergeant Crothers ap­pealed to any­one in the Crankill Road area be­tween 2.15am and 3.15am yes­ter­day who saw sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity to come for­ward.

He said de­tec­tives want to speak to the fe­male cus­tomer — who he does not be­lieve was in­volved in the at­tack — but may have ev­i­dence that could help.

De­tec­tives can be con­tacted by call­ing 101, quot­ing ref­er­ence num­ber 142 or Crimestop­pers anony­mously on 0800 555111.

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