Sledgehammer terror at supermarket

The sledgehammer raid at Leigh's Asda store
The sledgehammer raid at Leigh's Asda store
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A MASKED man wielding a sledgehammer stole thousands of pounds during a cash-in-transit delivery.

A Loomis van was delivering to the Asda superstore on Priestners Way in Leigh at around 9am on Friday, May 30, when the masked man and his accomplice struck.

Police have now released CCTV images of the masked man brandishing the weapon as he committed the robbery and are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

The van pulled up onto the Asda car park to deliver cash, but unbeknownst to the driver two men in a silver Renault Laguna Estate - fitted with false plates - were lying in wait.

The masked man got out of the car and ran towards the cash delivery driver wielding the large sledgehammer. He demanded the cash box from the driver who, fearing he would be attacked, threw the box on the floor.

The thief then picked up the box, got back into the Laguna and he and his accomplice drove off along Atherleigh Way, Kirkhall Lane and finally onto Furnival Street where the car was abandoned in an alleyway and set on fire.

It is then believed the men got into a second car, possible a grey or silver-coloured Peugeot 206 displaying the partial registration number MX54, which is also believed to be a false plate. This second getaway car then drove up Leigh Road towards Howe Bridge and remains outstanding.

The thief is described as being white, of a slim build, in his mid to late 20s and wearing a woollen balaclava, woollen gloves and a khaki green Parka-style jacket.

Detective Constable Alison Wallwork said: “As the images we have released clearly show, the offender had armed himself with a very dangerous weapon with one intent - to cause as much intimidation and fear as possible in order to get his hands on a very substantial amount of cash.

“Thankfully there were no physical injuries but as the images show, there were members of the public shopping at the time and both they and the delivery driver were extremely shocked. It is very lucky no-one was injured as no-one can control what happens in such a fluid and dangerous situation.

“We need to find the offender, his accomplice and the money then stole and send a message that this sort of violent robbery will not be tolerated. Security guards and cash-in-transit delivery drivers do not deserve to be targeted in this way. It is not an occupational hazard and those responsible will face a long stint in prison.

“I would to appeal to anyone who was on the car park either before, during or after the incident. I also want to appeal to motorists who may have been driving in the nearby vicinity and saw either the silver Laguna or the second getaway vehicle. If you saw a car being driven at speed or erratically you may have seen this car so please do come forward.

“The roads are this area were particularly busy at that time as it was a Friday morning during half-term so there may be a lot of potential witnesses who saw these cars being driven dangerous. If you did, then please call us.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 7292 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.