Belfast Telegraph

Robber disguised as postman holds west Belfast family hostage

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

A family was held hostage at gunpoint after a robber disguised as a postman tricked his way into their home.

The tiger kidnapping happened yesterday morning in the west of the city, which has recently seen a surge in criminal activity.

A caller disguised as a postman tricked the family into letting him into their house, before producing a gun and demanding they hand over money.

The gunman held a man and a woman hostage in the house while another family member, who is understood to be a bank employee, was forced to go to his work.

He was made to collect money and hand it over to another member of the gang at Fallswater Street off the Falls Road at around 9.30am.

All three members of the family escaped without injury, although one was taken to hospital for examination and was later released.

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said his sympathy was with the victims.

"Tiger kidnapping is one of the most horrendous crimes that can be put upon a family.

"People are actually taken hostage, the loved one has to leave their home to go to their place of work and retrieve an amount of money with fear and shock within them because they are not sure what is going to happen to their loved ones."

The Sinn Fein MP added: "Whoever the perpetrators of this are, (they) need to desist from carrying out this type of action because I'm sure they would not like to see it happen to any of their own family or friends."

Police are appealing to anyone who saw a man get out of a silver car in Fallswater Street at around 9.30am yesterday and hand a holdall to another man, who then walked in the direction of Iveagh Street, to call them on 0845 600 8000.

FACTFILE

Tiger kidnapping is when family members of someone who has immediate access to cash or valuables are taken hostage. In 2012, three Belfast men were jailed for a total of 10 years for their roles in a £250k tiger kidnapping in 2008. An Ulster Bank manager was phoned at work and told her brother had been kidnapped and she was ordered to take cash from the bank to the robbers.

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