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 News Stories

Yesterday, 11:00
Robert Stephenson-Padron with pet parrott, Coco Lee

Robert Stephenson-Padron, 30, is managing director of Penrose Care in Belsize Lane, Belsize Park. He also lives in Belsize Park. His company provides homecare to the elderly and gained national attention for paying its employees the London Living Wage, one of only four out of more than 1,000 organisations in the London homecare industry to do so.

Saturday, August 29, 2015
Three dogs have been poisoned

Three dogs have reportedly died after eating poison in Coldfall Wood in Muswell Hill

Friday, August 28, 2015
Michael McIntyre switching on Hampstead's Christmas lights in 2011  Picture: Polly Hancock

Funnyman Michael McIntyre has upset members of the Heath and Hampstead Society for crudeness - not of his jokes but plans to renovate his home.

Friday, August 28, 2015

An 80-year-old pensioner was viciously attacked outside her Kentish Town home by a group of “callous” youths after she asked them to keep the noise down.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder