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Police response to armed robbery criticised

December 22, 2009


By Brónagh Murphy

The PSNI’s response to the armed robbery of a rural post office in south Armagh has been strongly criticised by Sinn Fein.

Despite the incident at Dromintee Post Office being reported within minutes of it happening, it was the following day before police visited the scene.  Sinn Féin councillors have described as ‘inexcusable’ the fact that it took more than twenty hours for police to attend.

‘Extremely threatening’

Around 2.30pm on Tuesday last, two men wearing balaclavas and armed with guns, entered the premises on Ballynamadda Road where a female staff member was working alone.  Brandishing the weapons – believed to be a handgun and a sawn-off shogun – they demanded she fill a bag with thousands of pounds.  They made their escape in a maroon-coloured car.

The staff member was not injured but was left very shaken by the ordeal and described the robbers as being ‘extremely threatening.’  Both men were wearing black jumpers, black trousers and gloves and spoke with Southern accents.

criticism

Criticising the lengthy delay from the PSNI, DPP member Councillor Colman Burns, insists such a crime should warrant a prompt response from the police.

“The response that the people of Dromintee received, however, was totally unacceptable,” he said.

“What message does this send, not only to the victims of crime, but also to the perpetrators who now feel that they can operate freely in our area?

“The PSNI in south Armagh seems to have infinite resources to escort Willie Frazer’s media frenzy through the area. They also have large numbers of personnel available to drag mothers away in front of their children for minor charges but when it comes to armed robbery; people are left to fend for themselves.

“Recently I told the PSNI at a public meeting that their behaviour was damaging support in our community. This latest debacle will only serve to further damage that support,” he added.

Councillor Anthony Flynn visited the premises soon after the incident. Condemning the robbery, he said: “This activity is unwelcome in our community and the thugs responsible must be brought to justice immediately.”

response

In reply, the PSNI refused to go into details about how they ‘conduct specific investigations’ but confirmed that an ‘active investigation’ was ongoing and that they were ‘following a number of lines of enquiry.’

A police spokesperson confirmed that they had been in touch with the victim of the incident and had made arrangements to visit the scene at an agreed time.

They also appealed for anyone who has information about the robbery to contact them.



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