Detectives are appealing for information and warning businesses to be vigilant following a spate of robberies in Skelmersdale.
Over the past four weeks there have been five robberies at various stores in the town where shop assistants have been threatened and, in most cases, the raiders have got away with a wad of cash.
Detective Sergeant Ian Derbyshire said: “As a result of these recent robberies I am urging businesses such as off-licences, newsagents and post offices to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police as well as ensuring that their CCTV systems are in working order.”
The most recent offence occurred at 7.40am on Wednesday March 12 when two men entered the newsagents on Abbeywood, threatened the female shop assistant and demanded she hand over money. They grabbed her by the hair and forced her head towards the till at which point she opened the till and they got away with a quantity of money as well as cigarettes.
It is believed there was a third man outside the store keeping look-out, wearing a parka-style jacket.
On Friday March 7, two further robberies occurred, one at The Food Store on Bearncroft and the other at The Food Store on Tongbarn.
At 10.20am a white man entered the store on Bearncroft armed with a blade and demanded the female shop assistant open the till. He then made his way behind the counter and managed to remove the till from the counter and left the shop with it. Police have CCTV images of a man they would like to speak to in relation to this incident.
Later that day, at 7.10pm, two men entered the store on Tongbarn.
One man, who was armed with a knife, approached the till and demanded the shop assistant hand over money while the second man remained at the door. The offenders were challenged by the shop assistant and left empty handed. Police also have CCTV images of two men they would like to speak in connection with this offence.
Detective Sergeant Derbyshire added: “I would ask people to take a close look at the men captured on CCTV and if they think they recognise any of them I would urge them to contact police.”
Two robberies were also carried out in the town in February. At 9.30pm on Friday 21, a black man entered News N Booze on Bankfield and threatened the female shop assistant with a knife. He demanded money which the woman handed over and he left the store.
Finally, at 11am on Thursday, February 13 two men entered the Sandy lane Post Office on West Gate and made their way to the counter where a customer was withdrawing money.
One man threatened a member of staff as well as the customer with a small handgun while the second man grabbed money from the staff member’s hand and they both left.
Detective Sergeant Derbyshire continued: “We are very keen to speak with anybody who has any information about any of these robberies. While we are not explicitly linking them at this time, we are keeping an open mind as we continue to investigate them.
“Thankfully, nobody was injured in any of these incidents, but the people involved have been left shaken by what happened. Any amount if information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could be crucial so please come forward if you think you can help.”
Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.