Robbery at Norwich pub as staff locked up for the night
The managers of a Norwich pub have spoken of how they were threatened with baseball bats and a member of staff was tied up as robbers stole thousands of pounds of cash from the safe.
The robbery took place at the Compleat Angler in Prince of Wales Road, near the railway station. As a barman, who is in his mid-twenties, was locking up, two men grabbed him, forced him to deactivate the alarms and entered the pub.
The men then threatened general manager Victoria Thatcher and her partner Paul Robinson and demanded money.
Mr Robinson, 50, who has worked in the pub industry for more than five years, said: 'We had the evening off and the barman was locking up. When he had locked up, he went to leave the building and that's when two people grabbed him and took hold of him.
'They made him unset the alarms. We were trying to set the alarms but couldn't so we knew something was wrong.
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'They tied the barman up downstairs and forced us to open the safe.
'They had baseball bats. I've never experienced anything like it before, none of us had.'
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Ms Thatcher took over the management of the pub, which is owned by Punch Taverns, about a year ago. The day the robbery took place has been described as a 'quiet Sunday' and no other staff or customers were around at the time of the incident.
The men stole cash and keys. It is not known how much money was stolen but it is believed to be a few thousand pounds.
Police have launched an investigation into the robbery between 11.25pm and 11.40pm on Sunday, January 23 and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
A Norfolk police spokesman said: 'Threats of violence were made to the staff and the occupants before a quantity of cash and keys were stolen. The staff and occupants were not injured.'
A spokesman for Punch Taverns said: 'We can confirm a robbery took place at the Compleat Angler and fortunately none of the team was hurt. We are working to ensure the safety of our team at the pub and are co-operating fully with Police enquiries.'
Police are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area before or after the robbery at the Compleat Angler. Officers are particularly keen to speak two motorcyclists who were seen in the area at the time of the offence.
It is the second time within a month that a Norfolk pub has been involved in a robbery.
A separate and believed to be unrelated incident took place at The Chase pub in Newtown, near Thetford, between 11pm and 11.20pm on Sunday, January 9.
An 18-year-old staff member was leaving work when he was forced back into the pub by an unknown male who threatened him and demanded to know where the safe was kept and to be taken to it.
The offender then forced his way into the flat above. As he did so he caused serious injury to the landlord, who was in the flat at that time, with what was believed to have been baseball bat. The offender left empty handed.
Two years ago, there was a fire at the Compleat Angler. Fire ripped through the first floor of the building, which was closed at the time for refurbishment, and fire crews spent an hour tackling the blaze.
Witnesses to the Compleat Angler robbery should contact Det Con John Waterman at Norwich CID on 0845 4564567 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
The Evening News, through its Love Your Local campaign, is supporting local pubs. Do you have a story for the campaign? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org