A Larne chip shop which last week faced two armed robberies in two days will reopen tonight (Wednesday January 20) thanks to the support of local community.
The Hillstop chip shop on the Upper Cairncastle Road was forced to close after being targeted on both Wednesday January 13 and Thursday January 14.
The business is set to reopen with enhanced security measures.
During the first incident, which took place at approximately 1.30pm, a man armed with a suspected firearm entered the shop and made off with a sum of cash.
The two staff members were left shaken, but were not injured. The second incident occurred at around 4.15pm on Thursday, when three members of staff, one of whom was seven months’ pregnant, were on duty. During this incident, two staff members stepped in front of their pregnant co-worker, shielding her from harm.
Hillstop Chip Shop worker Ann Liddle told the Times: “He told them to open the till or he would ‘pop them in the face: one, two, three’.
“He held the gun to their faces and the other two girls stepped in front of the pregnant girl to protect her.
“They were so brave, they shielded the girl who was pregnant and I can’t praise them enough.”
While the five staff affected recover from their traumatic ordeal, the local community has rallied round to enable the business to reopen.
Ann said: “We have had help from friends and family, people have been very caring. Everybody is very sympathetic as we are a small community and everyone looks out for each other. People have been ringing and offering their support.”
Manageress and co-owner of the Hillstop chip shop Angela Agnew added: “People have been helping us out to get ready to reopen. Family and friends are offering to come in to do the dishes and answer the phones, to help out any way we can.”
Police have described the man in the first incident as in his late teens or early twenties, about 5’8” tall and of medium build. He was wearing a black scarf over his face, a black hooded top, black jogging bottoms and latex gloves. The man in the second incident is also described as being in his late teens or early twenties, about 5’10” tall and of slim/medium build. He was wearing a black scarf over his face, black jogging bottoms and gloves.
MLA Roy Beggs called those responsible “a danger to the local community” and urged the public to report information to the PSNI.
Contact Larne Police Station on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.