Antique shop owner told of raid

OWNERS of a Suffolk antiques shop, today told of their shock upon hearing their son had a gun pointed to his head during a raid.It was the first time in years that John Manning had worked in Merchant House Antiques in Ipswich, when the attack happened.

By Jessica Nicholls

OWNERS of a Suffolk antiques shop, today told of their shock upon hearing their son had a gun pointed to his head during a raid.

The owners of Merchant House Antiques in Ipswich spoke as police released an e-fit image of the man who robbed the shop.

It was the first time in years that victim John Manning had worked at the shop House Antiques in Ipswich, when the attack happened. The 28-year-old was threatened with a gun and bundled into a cupboard during Friday's robbery.

He said: "I don't think it has really sunk in yet. I would definitely like to see him caught and put behind bars. I am concerned for every other shop owner out there.

"It is the first day that I have worked in the shop for years, someone who works every day must be constantly worrying whether the next person who comes through the door is a customer or a robber."

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Mr Manning had been looking after the shop for his mother and stepfather Wendy and Graham Childs while they were at a wedding.

Today Mrs Childs, who also owns Maud's Attic next door to the raided shop, said that her son had not told them about the raid until the following morning.

She said: "John was brilliant. I would have expected him to have told us last night but he knew we had gone to a wedding and would have been partying.

"It was a bit of a shock when he told us.

"I am just so glad that he did not fight back and get hurt."

Mrs Childs said that windows had been broken in the shop before now and also had youngsters trying to get into the back of the shop.

She said: "But it is a totally different thing when it is a gun - you don't expect to be confronted with a gun.

"I wish it hadn't happened to John but it did."

Mrs Child's also praised the police and said that they arrived extremely quickly and sent a huge police presence, quickly sealing off the road.

The raider struck at Merchant House Antiques in St Peter's Street at around 1.15pm on Friday.

Mr Manning who runs his business Renaissance Properties from the shop, was alone in his office at the back of the building when a man came in pretending to be a customer.

He threatened Mr Manning with a gun, demanded money and then locked him in a cupboard before dragging him out again and making him untie his laptop computer which was then taken as well.

Eventually he made off with the laptop, around £200 of petty cash as well as the contents of Mr Manning's backpack.

The offender is described as a white male, aged about 33, 6ft2 ins to 6ft 3ins, with close-cropped hair. He was wearing a blue topwith a zip at the neck.

Anyone with information should call Pc Cathy Bruneauon 01473 383133 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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