Search

Hampstead ‘paying price for police station closure’ after gunpoint robbery

17:00 06 March 2014

Tesco Express in Heath Street. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Tesco Express in Heath Street. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

An armed robbery on a supermarket proves that Hampstead is already “paying the price” for the closure of its police station, it was claimed this week.

Campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui said the gunpoint raid at Tesco in Heath Street on Friday morning shows that the “ill-considered” decision to close century-old Hampstead police station, in Rosslyn Hill, is already having a major impact.

The robbery has sparked fresh calls for the reopening of the police station, which was axed last June but has yet to be sold by the Met.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, head of the Hampstead Shops Campaign and chairman of the Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, said: “It’s shocking – we need our station back. We have not seen this level of crime before in Hampstead and it’s extremely worrying.

“The loss of the police station is fuelling a higher incidence of crime in the area.

“Hampstead is paying the price for the ill-considered decision to kill the police station where we had a police presence for the past hundred years.”

The gunman struck at about 6.45am on Friday, pulling out what appeared to be a large firearm and aiming it at terrified staff at the supermarket.

One cashier reportedly collapsed to the floor in shock after being told to hand over money or be shot. Colleagues said the man was so traumatised he sought medical help afterwards and has not returned to work.

Another Tesco worker was counting cash from the self-service machines when the robber came into the store at about 6.45am.

“Suddenly he came to the checkout and he took the gun out,” she said. “It was quite long and thick and he pointed it at my colleague and said: “I want the money, otherwise I’ll shoot you. My colleague just fell down on the floor, he was so scared. Everyone was scared.”

The woman, who was too upset to be named, said the ordeal lasted more than 10 minutes.

She said the man was “waving the weapon around and pointing it at everyone”.

Unable to get all the tills open, the robber eventually fled with about £1,400 of coins from the self-service checkouts, with some tobacco and a bottle of alcohol.

Tesco has now changed its opening time from 6am to 7am so staff do not have to count cash with the doors open.

The cashier added: “I have worked in Hampstead since 1998 and it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this.”

Met Police Flying Squad officers have issued an appeal for witnesses.

The robber is white, about 6ft, and was wearing a dark green hoodie and a black hat. He ran off towards Hampstead Tube station.

n Anyone with information should call 020 8785 8655 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

09:09

A teenager has been jailed for rape and attempted murder after stabbing a 15-year-old girl and forcing her to have sex with him in Hampstead Cemetery.

Yesterday, 17:05

Murdered children’s author Helen Bailey lived for 20 years in Highgate before moving to Hertfordshire to be with the lover who turned out to be killer.

Yesterday, 14:22

Police have released CCTV footage after a woman was sexually assaulted outside Golders Green station.

Yesterday, 12:06

Police are appealing for information after four men were admitted to hospital after being slashed in an “unprovoked” knife attack after a night out in Muswell Hill.

Yesterday, 11:03

A state school is making waves in sailing after being accepted to enter the Rolex Fastnet Offshore race in August.

Thu, 17:30

Euston station has been closed because of overcrowding and disruption caused by Storm Doris.

Thu, 16:00

Children dressed as Voldemort and characters from 1984 are planning to descend on East Finchley Library to stage a World Book Day protest against Barnet Council’s “ridiculous” and “dangerously unsafe” libraries policy.

Thu, 14:30

Council tax in Camden is set to rise by an extra 1 per cent – on top of the previously planned 3.99pc increase.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now