Spectre of drugs behind robberies rise

THE rising tide of robberies in Suffolk could be sparked by drugs with users committing crime to fund their habits.In the past five weeks, Suffolk police have dealt with eight robberies.

By Danielle Nuttall

THE rising tide of robberies in Suffolk could be sparked by drugs with users committing crime to fund their habits.

In the past five weeks, Suffolk police have dealt with eight robberies.

The latest was at a building society in Ipswich yesterday when two men escaped with cash, just days after a gun-wielding robber targeted an antique shop in the town.


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Det Insp Julian Blazeby, who is heading the investigation into the building society robbery, said: "Any amount of armed robberies is unacceptable to us. Eight is a concern to us but we are doing what we can with regards to patrols.

"We take them very seriously. The volume of crime has risen as a result of the increase in the use of drugs, and that's a fact."

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Police could not say at this stage whether the latest crimes are linked to the use of drugs. But, he said: "A lot of our crime is related to drug offending.

"We are working closely with the Post Office at this time of year to try to promote further patrols to increase vigilance and hope that the public will assist us. We are the safest county in England at the moment."

Yesterday's raid happened at 10.45am at the Britannia Building Society in Dales Road.

Two men entered the building society. One remained at the door while the other jumped over the counter and stole a quantity of cash. No weapon was used or seen during the raid.

The incident comes after a robber threatened John Manning with a gun before bundling him into a cupboard and stealing a laptop computer, £200 and the contents of his backpack at the Merchant House Antiques shop in St Peter's Street, Ipswich, on Friday. Police are not linking the two robberies.

One of the robbers in the latest raid is described as black and about 5ft 8in tall.

He wore a grey hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and had a scarf over his face.

The other is described as black and about 5ft 10in. He wore a hooded top.

On December 30, two masked armed robbers struck at the Exning Road Post Office in Newmarket and threatened staff with an axe and what was believed to be a gun. They demanded cash and fled in a car.

A day before, three masked men targeted the Shotley Gate Post Office and Stores and threatened staff before stealing cash.

On Christmas Eve, robbers threatened two shopworkers with a metal bar at the Londis shop in Brandon before escaping with a large quantity of cigarettes.

Robbers also struck at Christchurch Street Post Office in Ipswich on December 23. They threatened staff with guns and then fled empty- handed.

Post offices in Hacheston, near Wickham Market, and Debenham have also been raided. Police have not ruled out possible links between the post office raids.

Anyone with information on the Dales Road robbery or who was in the area at the time should contact Ipswich CID on 01473 383133 or call Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555111.

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