Daylight robbery

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THE owner of a small corner shop which was robbed in broad daylight has branded those who carried out the crime as “thugs”.

Last Wednesday (October 5) two masked men, one armed with an iron bar, entered the newsagents on the corner of Beech Court and Shankill Street shortly before 5pm.

The pair attacked the female shop attendant who was on duty at the time. It’s understood she was badly shaken as a result of the attack and required medical attention.

The thieves stole all the money in the shop’s till and made off in the direction of Charles Street.

Michael McDonald, the shop’s owner, said he was “sickened” by the attack.

“The whole thing only took a minute,” he said.

“They knew what they were at. Whoever did this has probably robbed other shops in the town.

“They looked like they knew what they were doing.

“The people who carried this out are just thugs.

“One of them even threatened to beat one of my workers with an iron bar. Afterwards, they stole her handbag.”

It’s unknown how much cash was stolen during the robbery.

He continued: “My eight-year-old son was in the shop when it happened. He didn’t know what was going on, but he was very frightened. He ran into the kitchen crying.

“I was at home when it happened. I got a phone call shortly afterwards and went straight to the shop, where I contacted the police.”

The men were both wearing grey tracksuit bottoms and white training shoes. One was wearing a black hat, while the other culprit was wearing a white hat.

Sinn Fein councillor Noel McGeown called on the public to assist the police in their investigation.

“These two petty thieves terrified a young woman and attacked and put at risk an important service to the local community,” he said.

“Small local shops like this operate long hours for a narrow profit and they are not in a position to withstand the effect of theft on staff or on their financial turnover.

“It is important to the local community that small businesses are free to operate in safety and to that end it is essential that these small time hoodlums are apprehended as quickly as possible.

“Anyone with knowledge of this robbery or of the perpetrators should contact the PSNI immediately.”

Anyone who noticed anyone acting suspiciously in this area at the time of the incident or who has any information is asked to contact CID in Lurgan on 0845 600 8000.

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.