Belfast Telegraph

Vigilance urged after burglars tie up men and raid house

BY MICHELLE SMYTH

A gang of robbers tied up the inhabitants of a house in Maghera before stealing their belongings and making off in their car on Wednesday.

The men, one thought to have a handgun and a knife, entered the house on Tobermore Road, on the outskirts of Maghera, at 8.45pm on Wednesday.

The gang tied up a 47-year-old man who was in the house at the time.

The other inhabitant of the house, a 51-year-old man, was also tied up when he arrived home a short time later.

The men suffered minor injuries to their wrists as a result of being tied up and were treated for shock at their home.

The robbers stole a sum of cash from a safe in the house as well as laptops and watches before making off in a black Mercedes car which also belongs to the men in the house.

The car was found abandoned in Castledawson's Brough Road yesterday.

Sinn Fein councillor for the area, Sean Kerr, blasted the "sheer audacity" of the robbers and warned people in the vicinity to be on the lookout to stop further incidents happening.

He also said that the area was neither predominantly nationalist nor unionist, so he did not think the motive was sectarian.

"This took place at the edge of the town in a residential area while it was still bright outside and in full view of the neighbours.

"The sheer audacity of these robbers is shocking.

"Over the years there has been a downward trend in this sort of thing happening in Maghera so this was totally unprecedented.

"I don't want to scare people, but I urge them to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police, even if they think it's trivial," he said.

UUP councillor for the area, George Shiels, also condemned the attack and urged people to assist the police if they have any information that can help catch the robbers.

Detectives are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen the car in the Maghera or Castledawson area or who has information about the robbery.

Anyone with information should call 0845 600 8000.

Alternatively, information may also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

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