Shop threat after two raids

LATE-night shopping could be under threat, according to an Ipswich store manager after two more terrifying robberies in the town.Darren Scott, 25, manager of Balfour Convenience Store in Norwich Road, spoke out today following raids at nextdoor Victoria Wine off-licence and the Drinks Cabin in Queen's Way on the other side of town were raided last night.

LATE-night shopping could be under threat, according to an Ipswich store manager after two more terrifying robberies in the town.

Darren Scott, 25, manager of Balfour Convenience Store in Norwich Road, spoke out today following raids at nextdoor Victoria Wine off-licence and the Drinks Cabin in Queen's Way on the other side of town were raided last night.

He said: "My staff were petrified after hearing about what happened at Victoria Wine. Although they didn't see anything, they were every scared and we decided to shut early as a result.

"There have been a few robberies lately in this area and we have already brought forward our closing time from 11pm to 10pm and ideally we would like to shut earlier than that.

"As an added precaution we have asked for a security guard as we fear there is a real risk to staff."

The first robbery happened when three men burst into the Victoria Wine off-licence at about 7.10pm and demanded that the assistant handed over the cash from the till. The cashier refused and was then assaulted. The offenders made off with a quantity of cash and cigarettes.

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Later at 8.15pm three men entered the Drinks Cabin in Queen's Way and again demanded money from the till. A member of staff was assaulted in the incident and the men made off with cash and cigarettes.

Police today confirmed they are linking these two robberies.

One female shopkeeper in Queen's Way, who declined to be named, said: "There have been a lot of problems around here and you do feel a bit vulnerable after dark.

"We had our window smashed on New Year's Eve and we think that was kids. We need more police up here in the evenings to put a stop to it. We had a fire out the back a few weeks ago and that was started by kids as well, we think."

Nigel Underwood, owner of Queen's Way Deben Butchers , said he was shocked by yesterday's attack but said it had been quite peaceful in the area for the past few weeks.

He said: "People keep talking this parade down. I have been here for four years now and you do get the odd incident like this, but you get that everywhere. "I have got a shop in Woodbridge and it happens there as well.

"Years ago we did have a major problem in this area but lately they haven't been causing much trouble. It is a shame but I don't think they are particularly targeting Queen's Way because it happened elsewhere as well. It could have been anywhere."

The Drinks Cabin was closed this morning.

The three offenders are all black and in their late teens to early 20s. Police were due to issue a full description of the offenders during the day.

Police are appealing for anybody who witnessed either of the robberies to contact Ipswich CID on 01473 383133 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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