Belfast Telegraph

Armed robberies condemned

By Lauren Mulvenny

Local representatives have condemned two armed robberies in east Belfast last week.

Maíre Hendron, representing the Pottinger ward, said the local community was “shocked” by the two incidents, which took place close together on January 7.

Victoria representative Robin Newton MLA said the attacks were a “blight” on the local community.

The first incident took place in a bank on the Upper Newtwonards Road, when a man armed with a gun entered demanding cash from a staff member.

Making an escape with a sum of money, the man was later arrested in connection with the incident.

A short time later a man armed with a handgun entered a building society on the Cregagh Road and fired a shot, before making his escape empty-handed.

There were no reports of any injuries.

Councillor Hendron said: “To have two armed robberies take place in an area in one afternoon is very worrying.

“It is deeply disturbing that a shot was fired in one of these incidents.

“The total disregard shown for the safety of staff and others is despicable.

“These two incidents have shocked the local community.

“These incidents took place in broad daylight in busy areas, so I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact police immediately.”

Mr Newton added: “This type of activity is a blight on our community.

“Dangerous and selfish people who seek to terrorise those who want only an honest day’s work must be condemned.

“The audacity of these thugs never ceases to amaze me.

“It is a major concern that a loaded gun was used, and I would call on anyone who has information to give it to the police and remove these criminals from our society.”

A police spokesperson said: “Anyone with information or who witnessed suspicious activity should contact detectives on 0845 600 8000, alternatively information about crime can be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity by calling on 0800 555 111.”

Belfast Telegraph

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