Shop worker stabbed in a ‘cowardly’ robbery bid

A MAN who stabbed a Larne shop worker during an attempted armed robbery at the weekend has been branded a “cowardly thug” by a local community representative.

The culprit - described as being slim, wearing a red, hooded top, jeans and white trainers - entered Wilson’s convenience store at St John’s Place in the town at about 5.50pm on Sunday and demanded money from the female member of staff, before attacking her with a knife.

He then escaped empty-handed in the direction of Ronald Street.

The victim, who was the only employee on duty in the shop at the time of the attack, was taken to hospital for treatment, but her injuries were not life-threatening.

Ann Marshall, chairwoman of the Dixon Park Residents’ Association, strongly condemned the attack and hoped the attacker would be “swiftly brought to justice”.

“It is awful when people who are just trying to earn a shilling or two are subjected to such brutal and cowardly behaviour. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that shop has been held up,” she told the Times.

“Thugs like this have nothing better to do than go out and terrorise people and try to make a quick buck, never stopping to think about the victims who may be left traumatised in the process.

“I know the woman who was attacked and a nicer person you could not get. It is such a shame that she is going to have to live with this terrible memory for the rest of her life. My thoughts go out to her, and on behalf of the local community I want to extend our sympathy and wish her a speedy recovery.”

East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs also expressed his “abhorrence” at the stabbing and called on local residents to come together to assist the police investigation.

“I would ask the local community to give any information they might have to the police of this assailant who was willing to use his knife on a defenceless woman.

“This man is a danger to the community and the sooner he is off the streets and his weapon is confiscated the better,” he added.

“Given the description, I have no doubt that someone will know who this person is and should give information to the PSNI. Someone may even feel personally threatened by him.

“Local shops provide an important service to local communities and attacks such as this in which staff are threatened can endanger their future,” Mr Beggs concluded.

Police are appealing for information and have asked anyone who was in the area at the time and may have witnessed this incident to contact CID in Larne on 0845 600 8000. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them on 0800 555 111.