Community’s gun raid shock

Police are appealing for information after an armed raider entered the BetFred betting shop on Westcliff Drive in Layton.'Exterior.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-1-2013
Police are appealing for information after an armed raider entered the BetFred betting shop on Westcliff Drive in Layton.'Exterior. PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-1-2013
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A COMMUNITY has spoken of its shock after a store manager was threatened at gunpoint in the latest in a series of shocking armed raids.

The robber pointed a handgun at the manager in Layton’s Betfred shop, before demanding cash during the terrifying raid on Monday night.

But he was forced to flee the Westcliffe Drive shop empty-handed after the quick-thinking manager locked himself in his office.

It is the sixth raid at a Fylde coast business in the last month, after two banks, a petrol station, pub and a convenience store were all held up by armed robbers.

And yesterday workers in other shops on the bustling street reacted with shock to this latest raid on their doorstep.

Jeff Widdop, owner of The Wine Stop, saw the aftermath of the attempted robbery, at around 7.30pm on Monday.

He said: “It’s worrying because it’s not a regular occurrence round here, it’s a nice community.

“We stay open late but have security and there are always two members of staff on.”

And Cath Hurley, treasurer of the Layton Traders Association and owner of Ragamuffins, added: “It’s not good it happening on your doorstep and it doesn’t create a good name for Layton. We’ve worked hard to make Layton a nice shopping area and get it on the map, and things like this don’t do it any good.”

Police are investigating, and Det Insp Andy Unsworth, from Blackpool CID, said: “This latest one has not been linked to the other offences.

“But clearly, this was a very distressing incident for the member of staff involved and I’d appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously to contact police.”

Betfred said it was co-operating fully with police and took staff safety “extremely seriously”.

Contact Lancashire Police with information by calling 101.