Knife-wielding raider targets Blackpool stores
Two betting shops were among the stores targeted by a knife-wielding raider in a spate of terrifying robberies.
Six businesses across the resort were targeted in the space of three days with police linking the incidents - several of which involved a man jumping onto or behind the counter and threatening staff with a blade.
The first incident happened just before 7.15pm on Friday at the Ladbrokes bookmakers on Whitegate Drive. A man walked into the store brandishing a knife before climbing over the desk and stealing £180 from the till. He made off on foot up Reads Avenue.
The second incident occurred at a branch of Ladbrokes on Coronation Street, at around 8.10pm on Saturday. A male offender entered the store, climbed over the counter and threatened the member of staff with a knife before making off with approximately £100 from the till.
Four further robberies were carried out on Sunday
The first was at the Corner Shop on Palatine Road at approximately 12.30pm on Sunday. Two men entered the store with one brandishing a large hammer which was used to threaten a lone female staff member. The offenders removed the entire till and left the store making off with cash takings, of an amount unknown at this point.
Another incident happened at 8.35pm on Sunday at the One Stop Store on Caunce Street. A man entered the shop and threatened a member of staff with a knife before attempting to get money out of the till. He was unable to access the register and made off empty-handed.
A short time later, at around 8.59pm, an man entered Grosvenor Stores on Church Street, where he produced a knife and threatened a member of staff. He demanded money and jumped onto the counter, before jumping back down and making off empty-handed.
The final incident occurred at around 9.38pm at Premier Stores on Dickson Road, when an offender entered the store with a knife in his hand. He walked behind the cash desk, pushed the member of staff over and pointed the knife at her. He took around £100 from the till and made off.
Police have now launched an investigation and have obtained CCTV images from several of the stores.
They would d like to speak to anybody who has information about any of the incidents or anyone who thinks they may know the identity of the man captured on camera.
Sergeant Stuart Reid, from Blackpool CID, said: "Between Friday evening and Sunday evening six shops were targeted with increasing threats of violence, and in each incident members of staff present have been left understandably traumatised.
"We would now like to speak to anybody with information which could help with our enquiries and in particular would like information which could help us identify the man in the CCTV images.
"We believe the offenders are still in possession of the knife and hammer used in the robberies so we would urge members of the public, for their own safety, not to approach either of them.
"However we would like to reassure residents and business owners that we are doing everything we can to establish exactly what occurred and identify those responsible. Extensive enquiries continue and we have stepped up patrols in the area in order to provide reassurance.
"Anybody with concerns about these incidents can approach officers out and about in the area or they can contact their local policing team, details of which can be found online at https://www.lancashire.police.uk/your-area/west-division/blackpool/"
Anybody with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting log number 1338 of March 12.
Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.