Prescription drugs, namely tramadol and diazepam, have been stolen from a pharmacy on the outskirts of west Belfast during what police say was a “terrifying ordeal” for staff.

Staff at the pharmacy in the Mount Eagles Square area of Dunmurry were threatened during the incident shortly before 9am on Wednesday.

The man responsible claimed he was there to pick up a prescription, but once inside, he demanded the drugs were handed over.

PSNI Detective Sergeant Corrigan said: “We are thankful no staff were physically injured during this despicable incident, but there is no doubt this will have left them shaken.

“This must have been a terrifying ordeal for them.

“I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the public to be vigilant and to ensure they do not put their health at risk by purchasing medication from an illicit source.”

I would appeal to anyone who finds prescription medicine, or who is offered prescription medication for sale, to call us immediately on 101.

PSNI Detective Sergeant Corrigan

The thief fled the pharmacy on foot with the drugs and a sum of money.

He is described as being approximately 5ft 8ins tall and of a stocky build, with short dark hair and slightly unshaven.

He is believed to be aged in his mid-30s and is reported to have been wearing a dark-coloured rain jacket and grey jogging bottoms.

DS Corrigan added: “People should only take medicines in consultation with their healthcare professionals who have access to patient health records, who are qualified to assess their medical needs, and who can take into account the risks and benefits associated with every medicine.

“I also want to appeal to anyone who was in the area around this time, or prior to when the incident was reported to us, and who saw a man matching the description of the suspect, or anyone who has information about this incident, to call us on the non-emergency number 101.

“Alternatively, information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”