Driver threatened as robbers steal thousands of pounds of cigarettes

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Thousands of pounds of cigarettes have been stolen in a delivery van robbery in Manor Royal, Crawley.

The robbery happened at around 9.20am today (Monday January 13) when the driver of a P&H delivery lorry was preparing to unload catering at The Office, Virgin Atlantic.

Three men jumped into the back of the lorry and stole bags of cigarettes.

The driver was in the back of the cream-coloured lorry preparing to unload the delivery when a white Mercedes Vito van pulled alongside and three men got out, leaving a fourth man in the driver seat.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said the three men, two with northern accents and one with an Eastern European accent, jumped into the back of the lorry and threatened the driver who was made to go to the far corner of the vehicle and turn away from them.

They removed a number of clear plastic bags containing thousands of pounds of wholesale cigarettes that were due to be delivered elsewhere.

They then drove on to Fleming Way and left the area.

The three men who entered the lorry are described as about 5ft 9ins to 5ft 11ins, of average build and all wearing similar clothing.

The men, who had covered their faces, word dark blue or grey sweat tops with the hoods up and pulled forward, dark tracksuit trousers with a single thin white stripe down the outside leg and black training shoes with white soles.

Detective Sergeant Jonathan Pink, West Sussex CID at Crawley, said: “No weapons were used but the driver suffered minor injuries from being pushed around in the lorry.

“He didn’t require medical treatment although he was quite obviously shaken by the ordeal.

“Looking at CCTV, we know the white Mercedes Vito van was being driven around the estate a while before.

“I would ask that anyone who was in the area at the time and saw the men acting suspiciously before the robbery, at the time or afterwards driving away from the scene to contact West Sussex CID at Crawley on 101, quoting serial 211 13/1.

“They can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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