Armed robbers target Credit Union for a second time

December 10, 2012

By Christine Keighery

The armed robbery of Slieve Gullion Credit Union last Friday evening has sent shockwaves throughout the local community, with the latest incident coming just two weeks after staff there were confronted by a three-man gang wielding axes and a handgun.

Despite increased security measures being implemented at the Credit Union since the November 23rd robbery, two men brandishing a firearm and a hatchet managed to enter the Forkhill premises around 7pm on Friday and force disbelieving staff into handing over a sum of cash. The pair, who hid their faces with scarves, made their getaway in a blue Toyota Avensis.

The robbery has been widely condemned, with SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley slamming the perpetrators as “totally reprehensible.” Mr Bradley, who also referred to the separate armed robbery of a Killeen filling station on Thursday evening, said those responsible for both thefts “need to take a hard look at the consequences their actions have on the lives of staff members and business owners.”

He added, “There is no justification for the use of violence and no justification for robbing an institution and services that offer so much to the local community.

“This comes after a filling station in Killeen was held up on Thursday night and is the second time this particular Credit Union has been robbed in as many weeks.

“This is totally reprehensible and our thoughts are with the victims and members of staff at both premises who have endured such an ordeal.

“I urge anybody with information regarding these incidents to pass it to the police. People are wary when they hear of incidents such as this and it does cause a certain amount of apprehension in the community. I urge all business owners to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the police.”

Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon also spoke out in condemnation of what she described as “disgraceful” attacks on vital services. She said the targeting of the Credit Union for a second time had caused “further shock and annoyance to residents of the area” and echoed appeals for anyone with information in relation to the incident to contact the police.

Speaking to The Examiner following the robbery, a representative from the Irish League of Credit Unions said,

“The Irish League of Credit Unions will be working closely with the credit union to ensure all staff and voluntary directors are appropriately cared for.

“We can confirm that security had recently been reviewed and additional security measures put in place. The appropriate authorities are dealing with the circumstances of the incident and we are unable to comment further at this time.

“Credit Unions have been providing an invaluable service to communities throughout Northern Ireland for more than 50 years. Staff and directors, in addition to providing members with those services, are trained by crime prevention personnel, with policies and procedures in place to protect themselves and members from criminals and criminal activity.

“We would like to take this opportunity to assure members that their deposits have not been affected in any way by this incident.”

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the robbery of Slieve Gullion Credit Union or has any information about the incident, to contact CID in Ardmore Police Station on 0845 600 8000.