Robbery horror after City cup tie

IAN CLARKE Norwich City officials have expressed sympathy to staff at Tamworth who were victims of an “horrific” armed robbery just hours after Saturday's FA Cup tie.

IAN CLARKE

Norwich City officials have expressed sympathy to staff at Tamworth who were victims of an “horrific” armed robbery just hours after Saturday's FA Cup tie.

Masked men threatened staff and customers with a shotgun and machete-style knife at Tamworth's Lamb ground before fleeing with several thousand pounds in bar takings.

Victims were made to lie on the floor and stripped of their personal belongings before the robbers emptied the tills and took the safe contents.

It is thought the gate receipts from the televised match - which were the biggest in the non-league club's history - had previously been banked.

The three raiders struck at the clubhouse at about 11.30pm at the end of a private function held after the lunchtime cup tie, which City won 4-1.

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All City's players and officials had left during the afternoon and it is not thought any fans were still there when the robbery occurred.

No-one was seriously hurt in the robbery, but people were left deeply shocked.

Norwich's director of sales and marketing Andrew Cullen said: “It must have been a very traumatic and dreadful experience for those involved. It was a horrible end to what must have been a great day for them, despite the result.”

He said the club would be contacting Tamworth officials to establish the full facts and pass on best wishes.

Mr Cullen said Norwich players, officials and fans had been given a very warm welcome by everyone at Tamworth.

People were left shocked but not badly injured.

Tamworth's general manager Russell Moore said: "It has been a traumatic experience for everyone involved and I can't imagine what the staff went through.

"I am really disappointed because it took the shine off a fantastic day for the football club. OK, we didn't get the result we wanted but a lot of the sponsors and fans stayed around afterwards to celebrate the occasion. Playing a Championship side and having it televised around the world was absolutely fantastic - then something like this happens."

He added: "A couple of staff have taken time off sick because they are shaken up and weepy but we're all trying to stay resilient here. Everyone around the club is feeling nervous, we're constantly looking over our shoulders and it is going to take a long time to get over it."

A spokesman for Staffordshire police said: "Staff were stripped of their wallets and mobile phones but, fortunately, no one was hurt. We are looking at CCTV footage and are appealing to anyone who was in the vicinity and may have seen something."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Det Sgt Nick Powell or Det Con Gary Bainbridge at Trent Valley CID, telephone 08453 30 20 10 or, call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.