Terrified worker left tied up during armed raid at service station
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.