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Daylight robberies shake Broadway traders

PUBLISHED: 17:13 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:29 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton A STRING of daylight robberies in Crouch End and Muswell Hill has put fearful traders on high alert. Violent robbers struck at two businesses in this week alone and it is thought the incidents could be linked. The first attack took place

Charlotte Newton

A STRING of daylight robberies in Crouch End and Muswell Hill has put fearful traders on high alert.

Violent robbers struck at two businesses in this week alone and it is thought the incidents could be linked.

The first attack took place at 3.40pm last Friday when a robber violently attacked a 26-year-old security guard by grabbing him around the neck.

The attacker escaped empty handed after he tried to open the door to the petrol station and security van.

Two hours later two masked robbers threatened staff at the NatWest bank in Crouch Hill with violence and ordered them to hand over money. Police said the suspects escaped with a "quantity of cash".

The robberies follow an incident last month when armed thieves robbed Quicksilver gaming shop in Muswell Hill, threatening staff with a kitchen knife and hammer, before fleeing with bags of pound coins.

And in July, masked robbers used a sledgehammer to smash through the front window of Robert Bale Jewellers in Muswell Hill Broadway.

Chris Freeman, of the Crouch End Traders' Association, said: "It is a constant worry especially in this tightening economic climate.

"I do wonder what will happen because the banks have good security so smaller businesses with cash on the premises are a soft target.

"We have all this surveillance intent on catching motorists but the CCTV seems inept at catching real crime which makes people feel safer."

Beth Weatherby, who owns Powder in Broadway Parade, said: "I definitely feel more worried about protecting my staff and stock and have told the girls to lock the door if they're in on their own.

"There seem to be some strange people around at the moment and I think it's all to do with this ecnominc crisis. It's terrible that the petrol station and bank was targeted.

"I'm thinking of getting a bell to buzz people into the shop." Andrew Thornton, owner of Budgens in Crouch End Broadway, said: "Any increase in crime is concerning. I think Sgt John McGrath and his team do a great job but they are stretched and could always do with more resources."

Lib Dem Cllr Dave Winskill said: "The most important thing about the NatWest incident is that no one was hurt.

"However, we would be foolish to be complacent and Crouch End councillors will be discussing this incident and the petrol station raid with the safer neighbourhoods team."

The man who attacked the security guard at Shell is described as black. He was wearing dark jeans, a black hooded top and black trainers. It is believed he escaped in a grey BMW.

Police would also like to speak to another man. He is described as 26 years old, of Mediterranean appearance and well-built. He was wearing a grey hooded top, blue jeans with short dark hair. The NatWest robbers were wearing black clothing, motorcycle helmets and hi-visibility vests. They escaped on a red motorcycle.

Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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