'He had a knife and a hook' - thieves raid pub's fruit machines in three-hour spree
PUBLISHED: 13:37 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:54 11 January 2020
The landladies of a town centre pub have been left "mortified and shaken" after their fruit machines were raided during a three-hour spree.
They are now warning other pub owners to remain vigilant after the trio of thieves stole hundreds of pounds from fruit machines across mid and north Norfolk on Thursday.
The sisters and owners of The Cherry Tree on Theatre Street, Dereham, said it was the first time in the seven years they had been at the pub that something like this had happened.
Sarah Godsoe said her sister, Morgana Hale, had been working when the female member of the group distracted her, keeping her behind the bar.
Miss Godsoe added: "We were made aware of the thieves after another business contacted a group of us to inform everyone that their fruit machine had been raided.
"We then realised that this same group had been in the pub earlier in the day.
"When we looked at the CCTV footage we could clearly see the group and one of them with a knife and a hook.
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"The woman was keeping my sister occupied at the front bar while another was keeping watch - they knew what they were doing."
It is estimated between £200 and £250 was stolen. A Facebook post informing people of what happened has been shared hundreds of times online.
Miss Godsoe added: "My sister feels mortified this has happened but I have told her they obviously knew what they were doing. She is okay but a bit shaken.
"You just don't expect it to happen but they are clearly career criminals. It did shock us because it happened right under our noses."
Two other businesses have come forward with further incidents. The crimes took place at The Cherry Tree at around 2.15pm, Strikes Bowling Alley, also in Dereham, at around 3.45pm, and The Crown Hotel in Fakenham between 5pm and 5.15pm. All happened on Thursday, January 9.
A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary said: "Police are investigating reports of three incidents where fruit machines were targeted in the Dereham and Fakenham area.
"In all the incidents three people, two males and a female, have entered the premises, forced open a fruit machine and stolen cash."
· Officers are linking the incidents and are appealing for anyone who may have information to contact the Op Solve Team at Norfolk Police on 101.