Belfast Telegraph

Police probe suspected tiger kidnapping and robbery

By David Young

Police are investigating a suspected 'tiger kidnapping' and robbery from a branch of the Nationwide Building Society in Coleraine.

PSNI sources were remaining tight-lipped about the incident - thought to be the first of its kind in the north coast market town.

The building society branch remained closed all day yesterday.

A note in the window from branch manager Karen McKinney said: "Sorry for any inconvenience, however the branch will be open for business as usual from 9am tomorrow."

It's believed the criminals held the family of a staff member hostage while they robbed the building society using the employee's keys.

Police forensics and scenes of crime team officers were seen on the premises yesterday morning as the investigation got under way.

A Nationwide Building Society spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph last night: "We are aware of the incident at the Coleraine branch and are liaising with the police as they continue with their investigation.

"The welfare of our employees is always our first priority and we will always offer support and counselling, where necessary, to those impacted by events of this nature."

The spokesman refused to give any further details of the incident.

Councillor William McCandless said he had heard about the incident from an official in another of the town's banks.

The crime marked a worrying new development that would concern the town's whole business community, he said.

"I am Coleraine born and bred, and I can never remember anything like this happening in the town," the UUP representative told the Belfast Telegraph.

The councillor also said he was concerned about the lack of communication with public representatives from the authorities about the incident.

Poor communication about incidents like these creates an information vacuum that only fuels speculation and fear, he said.

The councillor said he would raise the matter when he met the PSNI next week.

Council colleague Trevor Clarke said: "It's a worrying time for everyone.

"I've never heard of an incident of that nature in Coleraine.

"My thoughts are very much with the staff and family concerned."

In December, a mother and daughter were held hostage in a Dublin tiger kidnapping while a security worker was forced to hand over a substantial amount of cash.

Belfast Telegraph


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