Shopkeeper speaks of terrifying raid

A SHOPKEEPER, who heard a terrifying raid on his store in progress on his mobile phone, has today spoken of his determination to stay open. Chandima Perera, manager of IPS grocery store in Eagle Street answered his mobile at about 3.

A SHOPKEEPER, who heard a terrifying raid on his store in progress on his mobile phone, has today spoken of his determination to stay open.

Chandima Perera, manager of IPS grocery store in Eagle Street answered his mobile at about 3.30pm on Saturday to hear his 16-year-old sales assistant being threatened by two raiders.

Hours later police believe the pair may have struck again at a shop in Suffolk Road.

During that incident at 7.45pm, the thieves threatened a male shop assistant in Suffolk Road Stores, with a Stanley knife.


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They made off with cash and the assistant gave chase but was unable to catch them.

Following the raid at Eagle Stores, father-of-two Mr Perera, who was not working at the time, immediately called the police. He said about 20 officers in seven cars arrived within minutes.

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He said he wasn't sure exactly how the sales assistant managed to make the call to him.

He added: “I picked up the phone and I heard the struggle. I could tell there was a problem. I rushed to the store and the police were here very quickly. They knocked on doors in the area.”

Despite Mr Perera's quick thinking the thieves made off with nearly £400 in takings.

The assistant, who did not wish to be named, said: “I was in the shop with my eight-year-old niece. Two men came in and said they needed to look at the till. One stood behind me and told me to open it. He said he had a knife.”

The thieves took £380 from the till.

The sales assistant added: “They said if I called the police they would come back. I was very shaken but grateful they hadn't hurt me or my niece.”

Mr Perera said the shop has already been broken into once and been the target of an attempted break-in since he took over the shop in April.

He said: “We are a small family business trying to stand on our own feet and we need cash flow. We opened that afternoon and we are going to stay open.

“I moved from London to bring up my family. I thought Ipswich would be more peaceful and safer place to live.”

Mr Perera said the business would now have to spend £1,500 to install CCTV equipment.

Inspector Mat Dee of Suffolk Police the two raids were being linked but added raids such as these were rare in Ipswich.

In both raids the offenders were white males in their 30s or 40s.

Anyone with any information about these crimes should contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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