Ruthless gang raids McDonalds

IAN CLARKE Masked raiders stole cash after threatening staff at a Norfolk McDonalds restaurant.Three robbers armed with weapons thought to be a baseball bat and monkey wrench went into the restaurant on the side of the main A47 at Swaffham at about 8.

IAN CLARKE

A ruthless gang of armed robbers stole cash after threatening staff at a Norfolk McDonalds restaurant.

Three robbers armed with weapons thought to be a firearm, baseball bat and monkey wrench went into the restaurant on the side of the main A47 at Swaffham at about 8.15pm on Boxing Day.

They demanded money and got away with “a large quantity” of cash - thought to be about £2000 - and one female member of staff received minor arm injuries after being hit by a robber.

The firearm was not discharged in the raid.

The raiders all had their faces covered by what were described as either pillow cases with eyeholes cut out or hoodie-style tops turned back to front with eyeholes.

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About seven staff were in the premises at the time and all were left badly shaken and shocked.

McDonalds said that the woman who was hit was taken to hospital and treated for a minor injury and shock.

Although the fast food restaurant was open, there were no customers there at the time.

It is the latest in a series of armed robberies across Norfolk and came just four days after cash was stolen from the Post Office at Bressingham, near Diss.

Detectives said they were “considering” the possibility they could have been carried out by the same gang but could not formally link them.

Det Sgt Jason Davis, of Dereham CID, described the gang who carried out the Swaffham robbery as “ruthless” and said they had to be caught.

“It was clearly a well planned attack and they knew what they were hoping to achieve. They appear to be very ruthless in the way they carried out the attack. These are dangerous guys and we need to do all we can to get them locked up.”

He added: “We are exploring the possibility of these offenders being responsible for other offences and there are similarities.”

The raiders got in to the Swaffham restaurant through a back door.

Detectives are appealing for anyone with information about the robbery and specifically about two vehicles which could have been used in the raid.

One is a red Ford Focus and the other is a Mercedes car which was found burnt out at Pickenham.

No other descriptions are available of the robbers, who said “very little” to the staff.

An in-depth forensic examination of the scene was carried out and officers are also studying CCTV from McDonalds and the neighbouring BP petrol filling station for clues as well as pursuing “a number of other leads.”

The restaurant was open as usual on Wednesday and was packed with families, many of whom were unaware of the drama little more than 12 hours earlier.

No-one at the restaurant would comment but a McDonalds spokesman said: “The health and safety of both our customers and our employees, is of paramount importance.

“One employee was injured in the robbery and this individual was taken to hospital and treated for a minor injury and shock. We are liaising with all employees involved in the incident to offer support and advice and we are currently assisting the police with their enquiries.”

Anyone who may have seen either of the two cars, or been in the area of the robbery at the time or with any other relevant information is asked to ring Det Sgt Davis at Dereham via 0845 4564567.

He stressed any information would be dealt with in “the utmost confidence.”

In the robbery at Bressingham, near Diss, on Friday three balaclava-clad robbers threatened staff with a shotgun and axe at about 4.20pm before making off with an undisclosed quantity of cash.

During the raid a shop customer received a slight arm injury.

Other raids by masked robbers occurred on November 10 at 5pm at Harleston Post Office, on November 13 at 4.45pm at the store and post office at Bodham, near Holt and on November 16 at 4.45pm at Northwold Post Office, near Brandon.