Taxi driver hurt in Belfast knifepoint raid
A taxi driver was left with knife wounds to his hand during one of three violent robberies across Belfast at the weekend.
The driver was said to be in shock after two men, who claimed to have a gun as well as a knife, got into his car in Faburn Park in the north of the city at 3.50am on Saturday.
The incident, in which the men were forced to flee empty-handed after a struggle with the driver, was the first of a spate of armed robberies in a 24-hour period.
Later on Saturday evening a gang of three targeted a supermarket on the Andersonstown Road.
The men, armed with a hammer and a knife, threatened staff and made off with cash in a Peugeot car which is believed to have been stolen in a so-called creeper burglary in Lisburn last week.
Less than two hours later a shot was fired at a bookmaker’s on the Grosvenor Road by one of two men who threatened staff and stole cash before escaping in a silver car.
Police said initial inquiries into the incident, in which no one was injured, suggest the gun used was a blank-firing pistol.
Councillor Tim Attwood said the crime rate in the area has been on the rise in recent times.
“There have been a number incidents recently,” he said.
“I know there has definitely been an increase in burglaries in the Lower Falls area and that could be down to the economic times we’re living in or simply opportunistic criminals.”
Mr Attwood, who said local police have changed their shift patterns to deal with weekend crime, urged members of the public to help inquiries by giving any information they can.
“Anyone with any kind of information about who these criminals are should contact police immediately,” he said.
“The fact that police have taken on board the concerns of the community and tailored their shift patterns is a positive and welcome development, but information from the public is something that must also be encouraged.”