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Police hunt masked man after armed robbery in Margate

Police are appealing for information about this man after an armed robbery Credit: Kent Police

Police are trying to trace a masked man who robbed a Margate convenience store with a suspected firearm and made off with cash from the till.

They've now released CCTV images of a man they'd like to speak to.

It is believed that at 9.50pm on Tuesday 9 December, a man walked into Lawrence General Stores in St John’s Road carrying an item shaped like a firearm wrapped in a black plastic bag.

He then ordered the member of staff to go into back room and stay there. When the staff member returned, a quantity of cash from the till had been taken.

The man threatened a staff member before making off with cash Credit: Kent Police

The suspect was described as fat, and was wearing a dark grey hooded top, light grey woollen gloves, dark jeans and light grey footwear.

His face was covered by a balaclava but it is believed he spoke with an English accent.

"Although the suspect did not hurt the member of staff, it was obviously quite frightening to be confronted in such a way. We would like to hear from anyone who might recognise the man featured in the CCTV image and urge them to get in touch."

– Investigating officer Detective Constable Michael Freeman

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting reference number ZY/40101/14.

Gang jailed for violent robbery

An armed gang who carried out a violent robbery on a jewellers in the New Forest have been jailed for a total of 27 years.

The raid on the shop in Lymington took place in October last year. Police tracked the three robbers across Europe to Romania.

At a trial earlier this year in Bournemouth - a jury found a man alleged to be the fourth member of the gang not-guilty of being involved. Richard Slee reports.

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Armed robber who used make-up as disguise jailed

David Bentley has been sentenced to 28 years in prison Credit: Kent Police

Armed robber who used make-up in his disguises sentenced to 28 years in prison for targeting travel agents.

A man who tried to disguise himself with make-up to rob several travel agents has been sentenced to 28 years in prison today.

David Bentley, 54, previously of Court Road in Orpington, subjected staff and customers at travel agents in Tonbridge, Folkestone, Surrey and Lincolnshire to terrifying ordeals while he brandished what they thought was a firearm at them.

In the first incident, on Saturday 27 April 2013 he entered the Thompson travel agents in High Street, Tonbridge. He waved what a female member of staff thought was gun at a and demanded she fill a bag he had with money from the till.

This amounted to more than £7,000. CCTV images showed him escaping in a blue Citroen Picasso, using false number plates, which was later to be identified as being driven by his partner Justyna Pietrzak, 29 from Palmer Road, Gravesend.

The second incident occurred on Wednesday 12 June when he stole more than £21,000 from the Thompson travel agents in Church Street, Folkestone. He entered the store again with what his victims thought was a gun.

A customer walked into the store but when she tried to leave he grabbed hold of her and made her stay in the store.

On Monday 8 July, Bentley stole more than £15,000 in cash and travellers cheques from a Thomas Cook travel agents in Surrey. He again brandished a what was believed to be a firearm and threated members of staff and customers. Witnesses saw him leave in a silver Ford Focus, being driven by a woman, again later identified as Pietrzak.

On Thursday 26 September, Bentley entered the Thompson travel agents in Lincolnshire and again threatened staff with a weapon. But this time the panic alarm was activated. He was seen to drive off in a Honda CRV.

Officers in Lincolnshire later carried out a stop check on the car and arrested Pietrzak. Links were established to Bentley and a warrant was then carried out at his home address in Court Road, Orpington. During the warrant Bentley drove into the parking area of the property in a blue Citroen Picasso, displaying false number plates.

When officers searched Pietrzak’s home in Palmer Avenue, Gravesend, they found a cosmetic box containing makeup.

Other enquiries found that Bentley had been ordering various number plates, later identified as used by the vehicles in the robberies.

But following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court, Bentley was found guilty of four counts of robbery and four counts of possession of an imitation firearm. Pietrzak was found guilty of four counts of robbery and acquitted of firearms charges on 15 September.

On 17 October, Pietrzak was given a suspended sentence for her roles in the robberies.

"Bentley was determined to steal money from these travel agents and prepared to go to great lengths to do so and get away with it. He travelled great distances to carry out the offences, made use of make-up and disguises to cover his tracks and used false number plates on his vehicles. He didn’t care for his victims – subjecting them to terrifying ordeals, the effects of which they still have to live with to this day. But thanks to the hard work of our investigation team and the courage of the victims and witness, Bentley has been brought to justice and I’m pleased the jury found him guilty. Bentley and his partner Pietrzak thought they could get away with daylight robbery, but we’ve shown today that crime doesn’t pay."

– Detective Constable Scott Winteridge

Shop worker threatened with a hammer

A shop worker has been threatened with a hammer during an armed robbery in Bournemouth.

Police have released these CCTV images following the incident at the Ladbrokes store on Christchurch Road last night. The offender left with cash.

Police have released this CCTV image in connection with the robbery Credit: Dorset Police

The offender's been described as white, aged in his mid-thirties, about five feet nine inches tall with short black hair. He was wearing a white shirt with a black pin-striped suit jacket and jeans. He was also carrying a computer style bag.

Nobody was injured during the incident.

Police have released this CCTV image in connection with the robbery Credit: Dorset Police

Man armed with small axe robs shop in Bicester

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a robbery in Bicester yesterday on Thursday.

Shortly after 8.30pm the offender entered a Coral Racing shop in Wesley Lane.

The man was carrying a small axe and demanded money. A member of staff handed the man a quantity of cash and he then ran away.

The offender is white, of medium build and had his face covered with a red scarf. He was wearing a dark grey hooded top with the hood up.

A 22-year-old man from Carterton was arrested in connection with the incident and currently remains in police custody.

I am appealing for anyone with any information about the incident or anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time to contact police. We have launched an investigation and we arrested a man in connection with the incident shortly afterwards. Officers will also be conducting extra patrols in the area so if anybody in the community does have any information, or any concerns, please speak to an officer or alternatively contact your local Neighbourhood Team on 101.”

– Det Insp John Turner, of Oxford Force CID

Two men jailed for armed robberies

Two men from Blandford have been sent to prison for ten years and seven years respectively for committing armed robbery at two post offices in north Dorset and Somerset.

Andrew Hunt and Miles Halahan, 43 and 54, were convicted and sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court for the offences of robbery at the Post Office in Milborne Port in Somerset and at the Post Office in Bishop’s Caundle in Dorset.

Hunt was sentenced to a total of ten years in prison.

Andrew Hunt was jailed for his part in armed robberies Credit: Dorset Police
Miles Halahan was jailed for his part in an armed robbery Credit: Dorset Police

Halahan was found not guilty for the first robbery at Milborne Port, but was found guilty of robbery in Bishop’s Caundle.

The court heard evidence that on 15 July 2013 Hunt entered the post offices with a hand gun, believed to be an air pistol, and demanded money.

At the post office in Milborne Port, Hunt was challenged by the post master and made off empty handed. At the post office in Bishops Caundle he was handed cash and escaped in a vehicle parked nearby. The getaway car was owned and driven by Halahan.

A witness to the second robbery noted the registration number of the vehicle which led to the arrest of both Hunt and Halahan a short time later on the same day.

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Basingstoke bookmakers threatened with hammer

CCTV image released of the armed robber at Basingstoke Credit: Hampshire Police

A man threatened staff in a Basingstoke bookmakers with a hammer and left with a bag of cash.

The man walked into the Coral bookmakers near The Camrose football ground in Western Way around 9pm on Wednesday, July 31.

The offender is described as 5ft10 to 6ft tall and was carrying a Morrison's bag.

After the robbery, he exited towards Winchester Road and Elizabeth Road.

Two women were working at the time- a customer service assistant and the deputy manager.

The deputy manager said: “I saw him come into the shop with a hood up and covering his face. He shouted to us to get down and we dropped to the ground and then he demanded we give him money. I was physically shaking and was very scared about what he might do if he didn’t get the money.”

Two men arrested after armed robbery in Kent

Andrew Smith Jewellers was robbed by armed jewellers Credit: ITV Meridian

Two men have been arrested after a substantial amount of jewellery was stolen during an armed robbery in Kent.

Two men weilding an axe went into Andrew Smith Jewellers on West Malling High street on Friday lunchtime. They got away with a large amount of jewellery and made off in a blue Peugeot 106 driven by a third man. Two men have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Armed robbery at high street jewellers

Two men have been arrested after an armed robbery at a jewellers in West Malling, Kent.

Kent Police were called at 1.30pm on Friday, August 9 to a report of an armed robbery in progress at Andrew Smith Jewellers in the High Street.

The two men entered the store armed with an axe and stole a large amount of jewellery.

The men made off in a blue Peugeot 106, which was driven by a third man who waited outside the car.

On August 11, the two men aged 27 and 29 were arrested on suspicion of robbery. They have since been released on bail until October 21.

The High Street was quite busy at the time of the robbery, and we have spoken to a number of witnesses who have given us very useful information. I’m sure there are some more people out there who saw what happened though, and it would be great to hear from them."

– DC Graham Hunt at Tonbridge police station

Alleged armed robbery in Christchurch

Five people have been arrested as part of an investigation surrounding an alleged armed robbery in Christchurch.

The incident happened at 3.32pm on Tuesday, July 30 at Hurn post office along Matchams Lane in Christchurch.

Two men allegedly threatened staff at the shop with a sword, obtained cash and left the scene in a car.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

Two men from Liverpool, aged 24 and 27, a 22-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman, both from Ferndown, and a 31-year-old woman from Wimbourne have been arrested.

I am appealing for witnesses and anyone with information about this incident to contact police as soon as possible. I am particularly keen to locate a vehicle, a red Ford Escort with the registration number V82 NEL, in connection with this incident.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this car should contact Dorset Police urgently."

– Stefanie Belton, Detective Constable, Dorset Police CID
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