POLICE fear a gunman responsible for two robberies could be wandering around looking for another opportunity.
About 30 residents attended a meeting at Lymington Town Hall yesterday to hear from Hampshire and British Transport Police.
Asked if the gunman was likely to strike again, the head of New Forest police, Chief Insp Tony Rowlinson said: “He might be wandering around, trying to grab an opportunity. My priority is to catch this person.”
Asked what people should do if they were confronted by the robber Chief Inspector Rowlinson, said: “Do whatever you can to defer him without being violent.
“Don’t make any threats, buy some time and see if you can raise the alarm. His intention is to get money, not to cause harm.”
Now, officers from Hampshire police have joined forces with British Transport Police amid fears that he could strike again.
Senior officers say the local community has a vital role to play in bringing the gunman to justice.
He is thought to know the area well and could live locally, raising hopes that someone will recognise his description and alert detectives.
The scale of the hunt was revealed yesterday when police met residents to update them on the latest developments.
Chief Inspector Rowlinson declined to say how many officers were involved but said: “We are doing everything we can to catch this man.
“Every angle is being looked at and the amount of resources going into this investigation is quite exhaustive.”
The first robbery occurred at Brockenhurst railway station on December 5, when a commuter parking his car was forced to drive to a cash machine and withdraw a large sum.
Last Friday, the man targeted a house in Lymington. He pointed a weapon at an elderly woman emerging from the property and forced her back into the house where her husband, in his 70s, suffered a head injury in a struggle.
After grabbing £100, the robber stole the couple's car, forcing the woman to accompany him as he drove around Lymington.
He drove her back to the house about 15 minutes later, leaving her distressed but unhurt.
Two men from Lymington and New Milton were arrested last Sunday but have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Detective Inspector Ellie Hurd said: “We believe it’s someone acting in isolation.
Two people have been arrested – and that’s an indication that not everyone detained turns out to be a suspect.
“Until we reach the point at which someone is charged, we don’t want to miss any opportunities.”
He is described as aged 35-55, of medium build. His clothes include a dark beanie hat, a red tartan scarf, dark trousers and a high-visibility jacket.