A shop owner has praised the bravery of his quick-thinking staff who forced a startled knife-wielding would-be robber to flee empty-handed after a jug of water was thrown over the raider.
The drama happened at Moorhead’s Spar shop on Ballymena’s Larne Road on Tuesday night as the dampened criminal was forced to run off after two female members of staff refused to bow to his demands to hand over cash.
One of the workers was cleaning out a coffee machine with a jug of water and when she threw it round the raider’s face he bolted in shock.
Shop owner Tom Moorhead, speaking on Wednesday night for the first time about the incident which happened the night before, said: “Around 7.45pm on Tuesday a young male with a hoodie with a mask of some description on came in right up to the counter and threatened ‘put the money in the bag and you will not get hurt’.
“I think he said that twice and the female member of staff refused to give him money and she shouted on another female member of staff and she came up round with a jug of water which she was going to wash out the coffee machine with and when she seen what was going on threw it round him.
“The first member of staff then rung a bell and that scared him and away he went after the water was thrown round him and hit him. He was sort of stunned and away he ran out.
“I can’t thank my members of staff enough. They were very brave and obviously shaken up a bit. They were definitely courageous not handing over money. We told the staff members to go home because they were obviously shaken up and then we closed here for the police to take fingerprints.”
He said it was the third raid on premises he has owned in recent years.
Added Mr Moorhead: “We used to have a Vivo shop down the road and it happened to the first member of staff down there as well.
“It is not a common thing nor do we want it be common but it is the second time it has happened to her and it happened to my wife as well one night at the other shop.”
Police are investigating and say the raider was dressed in a navy hooded top, navy tracksuit bottoms and white trainers.
Chief Inspector Ball said: “I would ask anyone with any information about this incident to contact detectives in Ballymena Police Station on the non emergency number 101. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”