Belfast store robbed twice in space of 12 hours
The same gang may have robbed an east Belfast shop twice in the space of 12 hours.
The Russell's Shop 4 You off-licence and store on the Albertbridge Road was targeted shortly before 9pm on Friday and again on Saturday morning at around 7.30am.
Another Russell's shop on the nearby Woodstock Road has also been robbed twice in the the space of a fortnight, staff said.
Two men, one of whom had a knife, entered the Albertbridge Road premises on both occasions and small quantities of cash and cigarettes were taken.
Detective Sergeant Kenneth Leckey said the men were said to be wearing gloves and baseball caps.
“The shop staff were not physically harmed during either robbery," he said.
DUP East Belfast MLA Robin Newton said robberies are a problem for many businesses in the area and the shop in question has been targeted previously.
“I know that over the last few months, it has been robbed on a number of occasions,” he told UTV.
“For any member of staff to experience those threats of violence against them, it's just a dreadful experience.”
The latest robberies follow a two armed raids in just two days at a newsagent's on the Belmont Road last weekend.
Two teenage girls who work there were left badly shaken as cash was taken on both occasions.
Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle said those behind the latest thefts have "absolutely no respect for the local community and must be apprehended before they can strike again".
“While these types of crimes can often be opportunistic, they can also be the result of advanced planning. Whatever the motivation, the growing number signals the PSNI – along with local businesses, community groups and politicians – must take preventative action for the future."
UUP councillor Jim Rodgers said party colleagues are also arranging to speak with senior police.
“We need more police on the ground, those who own the shops need to become more vigilant, as do the wider community,” he said.