Belfast Telegraph

Knife thugs’ terrifying raid bid at shop leaves women traumatised

CCTV images released by police of an attempted robbery at Whites Newsagents in Westland Street in Derry on Sunday
CCTV images released by police of an attempted robbery at Whites Newsagents in Westland Street in Derry on Sunday
CCTV images released by police of an attempted robbery at Whites Newsagents in Westland Street in Derry on Sunday
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

A staff member and customers have been left traumatised after two men attempted to rob a shop at knifepoint.

The three women were in Whites News and Views on Westland Street in the Bogside in Londonderry when the thieves entered the store brandishing a large knife and demanding money at the weekend.

Owner Terry White (50) said that the women had been left badly shaken.

It is the second time one of Mr White's shops has been targeted this year.

In February his business on nearby Blucher Street was robbed on a Sunday morning by a youth wielding a knife.

"On Sunday at around 5.45pm two males came into the shop and demanded money," he said.

"One of them told the woman behind the counter that they were robbing the shop and to hand over the money. He had a big knife with him.

"There were two women up at the till being served in the shop at the time. The shop worker hit the panic button, which set off alarms inside and outside the shop.

"As soon as they went off the man stabbed at the till, slicing a big hole in it and ran out, hitting the glass cover of the food counter with the knife. He damaged that as well. They got away with nothing.

"The women in the shop were visibly shaken by the whole ordeal. It was terrifying for them."

Mr White said that he has taken every security measure possible to stop robberies, to no avail.

"I have no less than 16 security cameras in the shop as well as a panic button. There is little else I can do," he added.

"We had thought about putting a serving window in for after dark and we had been using a buzzer system for a time also.

"There is nothing really we can do apart from put a steel grid on the door. But we want to remain customer-friendly.

"There is no rhyme or reason to these attacks. Sunday night's one was at teatime and the one before that was at 10am on a Sunday morning.

"It is soul-destroying for me, it is so disheartening. We provide a service to the local community, we open late hours so that we are here for them.

"There is just a small minority of people doing this. This is just a small business. We employ local people.

"At the end of the day it is their jobs that will suffer and the community who rely on our shop will suffer too."

The PSNI appealed for help catching the duo.

Detective Sergeant Richard Donnell said: "We received a report around 5.50pm that just minutes earlier, at approximately 5.45pm, two males had entered a shop on Westland Street. One of the suspects, reported to have worn a black jacket with the hood pulled up and of a slim build and had a scarf covering the lower half of his face, is reported to have brandished a knife.

"The second suspect is reported to have worn a purple-coloured tracksuit top that was pulled up over his face.

"The suspect armed with a knife is reported to have used it to damage the shop till and a screen covering a food counter. Both suspects left the shop on foot, empty-handed.

"Thankfully, none of the staff or customers in the shop at the time were injured. However, this must have been a distressing ordeal for them.

"I am appealing for anyone who was in the area... and saw what happened, or anyone who knows anything about the incident, to contact detectives in Strand Road on 101, quoting reference number 1055 of 12/05/19.

"Information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

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