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Man tied to drinks machine in Co Antrim armed robbery

Police have appealed for witnesses

A MAN was tied to a drinks machine with his own belt during an armed robbery at a petrol station in Co Antrim.

Police said four men, one of them armed with a handgun, were involved in the robbery at the Applegreen store in the Crankill Road area of Ballymena at around 2am yesterday.

A man armed with a handgun approached the staff member outside the premises and directed him back inside, where he was joined by another three men.

All of them were dressed in black coats, dark-coloured bottoms, white ski masks and gloves

At one point, the employee was ordered to serve a customer while the gunman hid behind the counter.

One of the gunmen then produced bin bags and told the worker to fill them with cigarettes, before also taking a sum of money and the contents of a charity box.

The staff member was tied to a drinks machine using a length of wire and his belt. He managed to free himself after some time and raised the alarm.

Police last night appealed for the female customer who walked into a service station during the robbery to contact them.

"Whilst we do not believe she was connected in any way to the robbery, she may have information that could help with our investigation into what took place," a spokesman said.

Police have also appealed for anyone who was in the Crankill Road area between 2.15am and 3.15am and saw any suspicious activity to contact them.

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