Lyme Regis businesses on red alert after armed robberies

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: CCTv image of suspect released by Devon and Cornwall Police CCTv image of suspect released by Devon and Cornwall Police

A CROSS-BORDER manhunt has been launched by police following a series of armed robberies in Axminster.

Businesses and shop owners in Lyme Regis have now been put on red alert with the authorities fearing the robber may strike in the town next.

Police have released two CCTV images of the man they want to speak to in relation to two incidents that happened on Tuesday, December 24 and on Sunday, December 29.

They have also increased patrols in the area following the robberies.

The first incident happened on Christmas Eve at the Prospect Garage petrol station in Lyme Road.

A man, wearing a scarf over his face, entered the store at about 6pm and threatened staff with a knife, before making off with a quantity of cash.

He was described as white, around six foot, slim build with brown eyes, wearing a distinctive hooped jumper, a hooped hat and a light coloured scarf around his face.

The second incident happened just before 9pm at the Tesco petrol station in Axminster.

He entered the store and threatened staff into handing over cash and cigarettes.

He left the store with a substantial amount of cash and made off on a white moped-style motorcycle.

He is described as white, aged 30-40 years, slim to medium build with dark hair and a moustache.

He was wearing a hi-vis jacket.

Detective Sergeant Mark Oldershaw of Honiton investigation team, said: “We are urging the public to contact us with any information about either of these offences.

“If they know who this man is or have seen anyone matching these descriptions in the Axminster area.

“It may be that someone has been in receipt of unusual quantities of cash that they ordinarily would not have access to. Although we are asking people to remain vigilant at this time, these offences are highly unusual for the area.

“Additional police officers have been deployed to conduct patrols in the Axminster area to provide reassurance and we would encourage the community to provide any information they hold that could assist in apprehending the offenders.”

Lyme Regis PC Richard Winward warned all businesses in Lyme Regis to be on high alert following the robberies.

PC Winward said: “The armed robberies have all been in Devon and Cornwall’s patch up to now, but criminals take no notice of county borders.

“Shop and business owners in the Lyme Regis area really need to think about what has happened recently in Axminster, and review their security arrangements.

“Being alert to suspicious activity and reporting it is key. Cash in the tills needs to be banked regularly.

“Shop owners should consider installing CCTV, as this acts as a deterrent and as a means of identifying an offender.

“We need to ensure that businesses in the Lyme Regis and Charmouth areas are uncomfortable places to commit this kind of crime.”

Anyone who knows the identity of the man pictured or who has any information that could assist with the investigation is asked to call police on 101 quoting KA/13/705 or KA/13/713, or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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