Violent muggings: police witness appeal

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DETECTIVES investigating five vicious robberies in East Lancashire have released an image of a man who could hold vital information.

The violent muggings saw victims targeted in Burnley, Padiham, Accrington and Great Harwood overnight between September 2nd and 3rd.

Police believe the man pictured could have key information which could help in the investigation and have appealed for him to come forward.

Det. Insp. Marie Haworth said: “I am very keen to stress we do not believe this man is involved in any way but we do think he could have information that could assist us and would urge him to come forward.”

The five robberies happened overnight between the Sunday and Monday and police believe they could be linked.

Two 18-year-old victims were walking home along Padiham Road between Lakeland Way and The George IV pub around 12-20am when they were approached by two men, one of whom was holding a knife. Both men were searched at knife-point and the robbers fled with cash, a mobile phone and a PSP handheld gaming device.

Ten minutes earlier a 70-year-old man was walking past Padiham Town Hall in Burnley Road, Padiham, when he was approached by two men.

When he refused to give them money, one of the men punched him in the face, knocking him to the floor, before fleeing with cash.

Shortly afterwards, two teenage boys and a teenage girl were walking along Kiddrow Lane towards Padiham Road. They too were approached by two men, who demanded money and property and searched the victims’ pockets before making off with a wallet, phone, lighter and an iPod.

The three robberies followed two earlier incidents in Accrington and Great Harwood.

Around 11-10pm on the Sunday a 22-year-old man was walking home alone along Cambridge Street, Accrington. As he reached the junction of the alleyway to Water Street and Sultan Street, he was confronted by two men who demanded his phone. They pushed him against a wall and then stole his phone and fled down the alleyway.

A 20-year-old man was also targeted at 12-05am on the Monday as he was walking home alone along Hyndburn Road, Great Harwood towards the junction with Whalley Road. As he reached the junction, he noticed two men get out of a car that had stopped at the traffic lights. The men walked towards him, grabbed the victim and threatened him with what appeared to be a small knife before stealing cash and the chain from around his neck.

In each of the cases, the men were described as white, in their early 20s and were wearing black hooded tops and black shorts, possibly with motifs on the front and black training shoes or boots.

Anyone with information can contact police by calling the new non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, information can be passed via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.