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

Devotees of the late pop star are asking the City of London for a commemorative bench in George Michael’s “favourite park” for his fans to pay tribute to him

A man was beaten to death with a shopping trolley handle during a row, between two groups of youths in Willesden, a court heard.

Theodore Johnson, 63, appeared at the Old Bailey this morning charged with murdering the 51-year-old last month.

Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland will join traders and members of the Camden Neighbourhood Policing team this Wednesday in the Belsize Kitchen.

16:30

An influential publisher and Samuel Pepys enthusiast who lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb for 50 years has died.

14:11

Homeless people in Camden are to be offered extra support as temperatures drop below zero.

11:41

A pair of schools have had their newly-opened buildings blessed by bishops.

Yesterday, 19:08

West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has lost her appeal and had her five year sentence in an Iranian jail upheld by an Iranian court.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

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

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.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

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