Knife raiders target convenience store

POLICE have appealed for witnesses after raiders carried out a daylight knife robbery on a convenience store at a busy shopping precinct.

The pair walked into the Rai General Dealer and Off Licence store at the shops in King Oswy Drive, and demanded money from a shocked assistant.

They then ran off with a quantity of cash from the till.

The pair, who had their faces covered by scarves, used a kitchen-style knife to threaten the terrified shop worker.

Officers from Hartlepool Police were quickly on the scene and the force helicopter was called to help carry out a search of the area.

Shocked onlookers inside the store witnessed the raid, at 1.30pm on Sunday, which left the shop assistant shaken but otherwise unharmed.

A 25-year-old man, from Bruce Crescent, who did not want to be named, was inside the store at the time of the raid.

He said: “At first I didn’t really know what was happening but then I heard one of them say “put the money in the bag”.

“Then they ran off with the bag. It was pretty scary.”

Meanwhile, a 49-year-old woman, who lives in the King Oswy Drive area, was inside the nearby Hartlepool Workingmen’s Club at the time and she witnessed the police response.

The hospital worker, who didn’t want to be named, said: “There must have been about eight or nine police vehicles and the helicopter was up too.

“I have never seen anything like it, it was like a scene from The Bronx, in New York.

“It is a real shame because the owners of the store are lovely people and they provide a service to the community.

“It is sad that this has happened.”

Police and PCSOs spent the afternoon carrying out door-to-door inquiries in the area.

Detective Sergeant Jim Allan, of Hartlepool CID, said: “There was a robbery at the Rai General Dealer store and a quantity of money was taken.

“I would appeal for any members of the public who witnessed what happened to call police.”

l A 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of robbery and are currently being questioned by officers.

Any witnesses are urged to call (01642) 302178 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.