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Police keeping "open mind" over robbery links to New Forest gunman
8:53am Tuesday 15th January 2013 in News
Police are keeping an "open mind" about whether two robberies over the weekend are linked to the New Forest gunman.
An armed robber threatened female staff with a hand gun at a Highcliffe convenience store before making off with cash on Sunday night.
The raid which took place at the Mace store and Post Office in Saulfland Place, Highcliffe, happened around 5pm, less than 24 hours after another robbery at Co-op in Cranleigh Road, Southbourne.
Police have described the robber as 5ft 10in tall, of slim build and wearing dark trousers and a dark jacket.He wore a baseball cap and a scarf pulled up over his nose and mouth.
The robbery comes less than a month after another armed raid on Highcliffe Post Office in Lymington Road.
Owner of the Mace store, James Alexander said: “It was an armed robbery just before 5pm on Sunday.
“There was only staff in the shop at the time – two sales assistants, both female.
“We’re not used to this type of thing here in Highcliffe.”
David Liversedge, owner of Happy Pets, next door to the shop said the two shop assistants ran out the back to get him.
“They asked me to come down. I didn’t hear any screams or anything”, he said.
“I went to go and confront him but he’d fled. I didn’t see him. CCTV shows he had a hand gun – although it was probably a fake.
“These people are just chancers and cowards threatening young girls.”
Pauline Moore, 73, a part-time salon assistant at Temple Douglas, said: “It is quite a quiet area – I was surprised when the Post Office in Lymington Road was held up recently.
“It seems to be on the up this type of thing but it is scary.
“We moved to the area 13 years ago and it is so lovely, and then you hear of all these happenings. It’s very sad. We’ve got to look out for each other.”
Highcliffe resident Russell Joynes said: “I am shocked because of the area is usually so quiet but it is a sign of the times we are in. The shop is open late and there are usually young girls in there. They must have been frightened.”
Lauren Rowan, 17, who also works at Temple Douglas said: “All the ladies who come in say it is a very quiet area. I’m shocked to hear about it. It’s quite scary. I hope the girls are OK.”
Highcliffe has been hit twice in the last few weeks, with an armed robber striking at the Post Office in Lymington Road on December 18.
Police released a CCTV image of a man they wanted to speak to following the incident but as yet no one has been arrested.
The incident in December came just days after two armed robberies and a kidnapping in the New Forest.
A robber held a man at gun point at Brockenhurst railway station on December 5 and on December 14 police believe the same man drove a woman around Lymington at gunpoint after raiding her home.
At the time, police said they were keeping an open mind as to whether the incidents were linked.
An attempted armed robbery also took place at Coral in Castle Lane West on Sunday December 23.
There was also an attempted armed robbery in the car park at Morrisons in Verwood on January 5.