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Friday, 18 April 2014

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New Cumbria police appeal after man tied up during robbery bid

A scrap metal dealer was subjected to a terrifying ordeal by three baseball-bat wielding robbers who tied him up and attacked him in his own home.

DCI Lee Johnson photo
DCI Lee Johnson

The robbery attempt, at an address on Station Road, Appleby, was foiled when the 61-year-old victim escaped and raised the alarm.

Detectives, who say the raid is similar to one in Kendal on October 2 and others in the North East, now want to hear from potential witnesses.

The gang – their faces hidden by balaclavas – struck between 8.30pm and 8.45pm last Friday, at a property which is both the victim’s workplace and home.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Johnson, who is leading the investigation, said: “They tied the victim up and threatened him with a view to identifying property in his house. But during the ordeal, the victim managed to make good his escape and raise the alarm.

“As a result, the offenders fled and witnesses identified a vehicle – a green Ford Focus Estate – believed to have been involved in the offence, registration number S722 ABR.”

The victim, though shaken, escaped with bruising and minor injuries.

Police recovered the robbers’ car in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, but detectives want to hear from anybody who saw the car or any of the suspects in the hours before and after the raid.

DCI Johnson said: “I’d like to hear from witnesses who saw anybody acting suspiciously in and around Appleby between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Friday and also anyone who saw the green Ford Focus estate car.”

The officer said the Cumbrian force has worked closely with local scrap metal dealers, urging them to tighten their security in the light of recent attacks.

He also praised them for voluntarily adopting a new working code – particularly not accepting cash payments for scrap and ensuring all sellers have proper identification – ahead of a tough new law that makes this approach mandatory from next Monday.

Dealers will also have to keep transaction records for every purchase made.

The new system is being hailed as a way of smothering the trade in stolen metal and will deter robberies such as the recent ones in Cumbria, said DCI Johnson.

He added: “I’d like to reassure people that Cumbria is one of the safest places in the country and continues to be. I am confident that we will identify these offenders and, ultimately, bring them to justice.”

The raiders all wore dark clothing. One was described as a white male, in his early 20s, about 5ft 8in tall, with a slim build and short yellow or blond hair.

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