POLICE are appealing for witnesses following the report of a robbery at the Applegreen service station in the Crankill Road area near Ballymena in the early hours of this morning, Friday 9 November.
Detective Sergeant Peter Crothers said: “A male staff member reported this incident to us around 4am, saying that between 2.15am and 2.30am, he was approached by a man outside the premises who was armed with a handgun.
“He directed the employee back inside the store and was then joined by three other males. They were all dressed in black coats, dark-coloured bottoms and wearing white ski masks and gloves.
“At one point, the gunman hid behind the till and instructed the staff member to serve a female customer. He then produced clear plastic bin bags and instructed the employee to fill them with cigarettes. He also took a sum of cash and the contents of a charity box.
“The staff member was then tied up with his own belt and a length of wire to a drinks’ machine. The employee managed to free himself after a period of time and raise the alarm.
“I am appealing to anyone who was in the Crankill Road area this morning between 2.15am and 3.15am and saw any suspicious activity to get in touch with police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 142 of 9/11/18.
“We would also like to speak to the female customer who unwittingly entered the premises during the incident. Whilst we do not believe she was connected in any way to the robbery, she may have information that could help with our investigation into what took place.”
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.
Glarryford DUP councillor Sam Hanna, told the Belfast Telegraph: “It’ll be outsiders coming in and took the opportunity, like there’s only one person there at night you see from after 11 o’clock.
“It’s locked up at night you see, it’s only a hole in the wall. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Glarryford TUV councillor Timothy Gaston called for more police.
He said: “I would like to see the police having a greater presence at that time of night, paying attention to more rural businesses to try to stop a repeat of this happening in the future.
“It must be a very horrific experience for the worker involved, it certainly shook members of the local community that such a thing would happen in the area.”