Burnley armed robber is “low-life,” says shopkeeper

CCTV images of the robbery at the Spar shop in Manchester Road, Burnley (s)
CCTV images of the robbery at the Spar shop in Manchester Road, Burnley (s)

A shop owner has slammed the “low-life” armed robber who subjected two of his staff to a terrifying raid in which they were threatened at knife-point.

A man burst into the Spar store in Manchester Road and brandished two knives as workers Kath Cocker and Tom Ives were preparing to close around 10pm last Thursday.

He demanded money from the till and they gave him £560. He then fled down Manchester Road towards Burnley town centre.

Mr Donald Wells (59), who has owned the shop for the last 10 years, said: “The person who did this is clearly a low life and a coward because he’s come into the shop armed, picking on people who were vulnerable at work.”

Police believe the man could have been waiting outside the shop for up to two hours before the incident.

He is white, of large build and was wearing a black puffer style body warmer with his hood up and face covered.

Mr Wells added: “We were just glad that everybody’s OK and feel bad for the staff having to cope with it.

“I think they are still in shock and have thought about what could’ve happened if it had gone wrong.

“In the 10 years we’ve been here we haven’t had anything like this. There have been no threats of physical violence. This area is a lot nicer than it used to be.

“Kath was stood at the end of the till when it happened and she’s been back to work since, she’s reasonably OK.

“But I think Tom is finding it a bit more difficult. I think when something happens like that it’s such a big shock to the system.

“You just don’t expect something like this to happen when you go to work.”

Mr Wells said his employees called him and police straight after the incident.

“Our first thought was to make sure everybody was OK.

“About seven years ago there was a robbery involving the men who were filling up the ATM in the shop but none of the shop staff were threatened with violence.

“Normally speaking it’s a very quiet shop.”

DC Dave Greenwood from Pennine CID said: “We believe the man responsible was loitering outside the shop for up to two hours before committing the robbery so although there were no customers in the shop at the time of the offence I would like to speak with anyone that thinks they may have seen the man pictured in the CCTV to come forward.

“Fortunately nobody was hurt but this is clearly a serious offence and an investigation is under way to catch the man responsible.” Anyone with any information is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.