8:45am Monday 7th January 2013
POLICE are renewing their appeal for CCTV footage after a woman was threatened at gunpoint by a robber outside a supermarket.
The 59-year-old was getting into her car yards from cashpoint machines outside Morrisons in Chiltern Drive, Verwood when she was approached by a man with his hat pulled down over his eyebrows and wielding a handgun.
The woman, from Wimborne, refused to hand over cash and screamed.
With shoppers arriving and leaving the supermarket on Friday evening the robber fled empty handed, as reported by the Echo on Friday.
Police visited pubs and residents and scanned the area using the force helicopter but were unable to capture the gunman.
Bushes on Chiltern Drive were cordoned off by police afterwards.
A police spokesman said they were not linking the robbery attempt in Verwood to those of the "New Forest gunman" but were “keeping an open mind” while detectives seek more information.
On December 5 a gunman forced a motorist at Brockenhurst railway station to drive to a cashpoint and withdraw money.
Police suspect the same man robbed a couple in Lymington and kidnapped the woman in their car before returning her home on December 14.
And officers have also been looking into whether that same man held up a Highcliffe Post Office on December 18.
Shocked residents fear the Verwood robber had been hiding and waiting for one of the cashpoint users or shoppers who park on the road to avoid going into the supermarket car park.
Ainslie Atyeo lives close by and was in The Swans pub next to the supermarket when it happened.
“It’s a bit close to home,” he said.
“There was police all around and the helicopter was in the air.
“It’s obvious the robber was hiding in the hedges.”
The victim’s silver Peugeot was removed by police for checks on Friday night while officers spoke to residents and supermarket staff.
A policeman remained at the scene on Saturday morning next to the taped off bushes.
The attacker is described as white, aged 30-40, of medium build and weighing approximately 12-13 stones.
He was clean-shaven at the time and reportedly spoke with a northern accent. He was wearing a black woollen hat, a dark jumper with a black gilet over the top and black woollen gloves.
Detective Inspector Jock Mullen, of Bournemouth CID, said the attempted robbery happened at 7.25pm on Friday and the gunman fled empty handed.
He said: “This was a very dis tressing incident for the victim but she bravely raised the alarm and was uninjured.
“I urge anyone who witnessed this attack, and anyone who saw someone matching this description near to the Morrisons store or running away from it, to call police as soon as possible.
“I am also appealing for anyone in the area who has private CCTV from the time of the incident or before or after to contact Dorset Police urgently.”
Police are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information about the crime to call Dorset Police 101 quoting incident number 404/4.
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