Shock after armed robbery

Loughview Garden Centre, Castor Bay Road, Lurgan.
Loughview Garden Centre, Castor Bay Road, Lurgan.

A local businessman has told the Mail of his shock and fear after an armed robbery at his garden centre on the outskirts of Lurgan on Friday

John McKavanagh said he was working at Loughview Garden Centre when two people armed with a crowbar and large knife demanded cash.

Mr Kavanagh said he was alone when the figures dressed from head to toe in black and wearing balaclavas threatened him with a knife.

“They told me to put money in the bag and if I didn’t put the money in the bag, they would stick the knife in me,” he said.

He said the pair fled across fields from the centre which is on the shores of Lough Neagh at a dead end on the Castor’s Bay Road.

A police helicopter and sniffer dogs were deployed. Mr Kavanagh said: “As soon as the police arrived, we all pursued them on foot because I knew the layout of the fields there.

“It was very frightening. It was a very shocking thing to have happened for all the members of staff. We have been overwhelmed by customer support.

“My mother Vera, who is in her seventies, is normally the first port of call here but it would have killed her, the shock of it,” said John. “We are very grateful no one was hurt.”

Two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, have been charged in connection with an armed robbery. A sum of money was later recovered by police. They are due to appear at Craigavon Youth Court on 29 October.

SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden condemned the robbery describing it as a ‘vicious’ attack.