Two arrests after ‘terrifying’ armed robbery at Co-op

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Surrey Police is appealing for witnesses following an armed robbery.

Two men wearing balaclavas entered the Co-Operative store in Redehall Road, Smallfield, shortly after 9pm on Saturday (September 26).

They threatened the three members of staff, two men and a woman, with what appeared to be firearms before taking them to an office and tying them up, said police.

The men stole cash from a safe and several tills in the store before threatening a member of the public who entered the shop as they fled.

The robbers made off in a silver vehicle which was found abandoned in East Hill Lane, Copthorne, several hours later.

Detective Inspector Oana King said: “This was a serious incident where members of staff who were simply trying to do their jobs were threatened by two cowardly offenders.

“The victims in this incident fortunately only suffered minor injuries but they were put through what must have been a terrifying ordeal and have understandably been left very shaken by what took place.

“I would appeal to any members of public who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area at around 9pm on Saturday to contact us as a matter of urgency as any information, however small it may seem, could prove vital to bringing those responsible to justice.

“Although we have made a number of arrests in connection with the robbery we still need information from the public to piece together the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw the vehicle we believe the suspects used being abandoned in East Hill Lane at around 10pm on Saturday and I would like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything out of the ordinary.

“We will not tolerate offences of this nature in Surrey and I can assure the public that we are doing everything possible to track down those responsible – including reviewing CCTV footage and carrying out house to house enquiries.”

Tandridge Neighbourhood Inspector Dan Gutierrez said: “I appreciate that this was a concerning incident for Smallfield residents and local Safer Neighbourhood Team officers are working to keep residents and local businesses informed.

“There was a large police presence in the area over the weekend and I understand that this must have been concerning for the local community but I can assure residents that this was part of a proportionate policing response to this incident.

“We will continue to keep members of the public updated and there will be increased high visibility patrols in the area over the coming days.”

The raiders were described as between 5ft 8ins and 6ft tall, large build and spoke with southern accents. One was wearing red overalls and the other dark clothing. They both wore black gloves and balaclavas.

Surrey Police has arrested a 43-year-old man and a 32-year-old man on suspicion of robbery. Both remain in police custody while the investigation continues.

Anyone who witnessed the robbery can call Surrey Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 45150087412, or by using the online reporting system found at https://my.surrey.police.uk/splonlinereportingweb.

Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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