Knife-wielding gang in terrifying pub attack

Police outside the Black Bull in Great Eccleston yesterday
Police outside the Black Bull in Great Eccleston yesterday
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A village pub boss has described his shock at an armed raid in which another landlord was tied up by a masked gang.

Ian Senior was clearing up at the White Bull in Great Eccleston when Chris Jefferies, landlord at the neighbouring Black Bull, appeared outside his premises battered and bruised and calling for help.

It’s the level of violence that’s shocking

Mr Jefferies, 58, has been set upon by four men carrying knives as he locked up after a busy bank holiday Monday.

The robbers had hidden themselves upstairs at the High Street pub and set upon Mr Jefferies before tying him to a chair and making off which a large amount of cash.

The pub boss suffered severe bruising and facial injuries and a suspected broken shoulder in the late-night ordeal.

He was only able to raise the alarm by freeing himself and staggering across the village square to the White Bull.

The first Mr Senior knew of the drama unfolding across the road was when he heard a knock at the window at 1am on Tuesday.

He said:“We were all just finishing up.

“I was in the bar with my wife and a couple of friends.

“We were just tidying up when there was a loud banging at the window.

“I could see it was Chris, the landlord from the Black Bull and he was in a real state.”

Mr Senior threw open the door and was shocked to see the condition of his friend.

He said: “His face was a mess, his eyes were swollen.

“I opened the door straight away and he told me he’d been attacked and robbed.

“There was still what looked like washing line tied around his arms.

“I don’t know how he’d got freeI called 999 straight away and then cut the wire off him and sat him down.

“The police were here within 10 minutes.

“There were about 10 cars and the helicopter was up searching.

“The ambulance came, checked Chris over and took him to hospital.”

Mr Senior said the village had been left in shock at the dramatic events.

He said: “You can’t believe it. It’s a shock.When I opened the door I was just stunned.For about 10 seconds I didn’t know what to do.

“I turned and said to one of my friends, what should I do?

“It’s a small community, we’re all friends and it’s shocking this has happened to one of us.”

Word of the raid spread quickly around the village and residents were shaken by the events.

Mark Bellamy, of Bellamy’s Fish Bar, said: “We found out about it pretty quickly.

“It’s the level of violence that’s shocking.

“He’s very lucky and you don’t want to think what could have happened.

“I just hope they are going to catch the people who have done this.”

Staff who had been working in the Black Bull on Monday said they had not seen any suspicious behaviour in the run up to the attack.

All staff other than the landlord had left the pub when the raiders struck

It is not clear how the men had been able to gain access to upstairs areas at the pub but they may have entered through the rear of the property to avoid CCTV cameras.

The landlord of the Black Bull is understood to have left hospital yesterday morning and was hoping to be back in business late yesterday.

Police remained at the scene well into yesterday afternoon.

They were unable to say precisely how much money had been taken but described the sum as ‘significant’.

The four raiders were described as speaking with Merseyside accents

Det Insp Lee Wilson, of Blackpool CID, said: “This was a vicious robbery carried out by men who clearly had no hesitation is using extreme levels of violence to get what they wanted.

“I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious at the time, or any people or vehicles acting suspiciously in the days before the robbery, and anyone who has any information about who these offenders could be, to get in touch with us.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting log number 0063 of May 31 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers.org.