Cowardly duo rob same shop for the second time in a month

Offie thieves are caught on camera

By Francesca Ryan

T his is the cowardly duo who robbed the same West Belfast business for the second time in a fortnight. The pair were caught on camera as they raided the Wineflair off-licence at the top of the Suffolk Road on Friday night. In the first shot they’re pictured rushing into the shop in the wake of a customer who has just been buzzed in.

Armed with machetes, the men threatened terrified female staff and customers and damaged property as they carried out the robbery, making off with a sum of cash. It’s believed that the same pair were responsible for a robbery at the same store two weeks ago when they also made off with a sum of cash.

Wineflair’s security manager, who does not wish to be named, says the company is now being forced to reinstall caging at the Suffolk Road shop to ensure staff remain safe.

“As a company, it is our policy to remove these barriers but the Suffolk Road shop is not moving forward the same as the rest of the branches and we have decided to reinstall the cages,” she said.  “We did not want to take this step but the health and safety of our staff is first and foremost in our minds and we want them to feel safe,” she added.

“We always work closely with the community and try to make the shops customer friendly but we can do no more here, our staff are feeling the fear. One has quit with stress and the two girls who normally work in this shop have asked for transfers which we will oblige.

“We cannot take any more risks with staff or customers so we are putting the cages back up in the next few weeks. We never thought we would have to but needs must.”

The Wineflair incident was just one of a number of armed robberies in West Belfast at the weekend.

Just before 7pm on Saturday evening, staff at Ladbrokes bookmakers on the Andersonstown Road were ordered to hand over money by a man armed with a suspected gun.

No-one was injured during the robbery but staff were said to be shocked.

Meanwhile, another bookmakers was targeted on the Springfield Road around two hours later.

A man entered the shop with a suspected firearm and demanded money but made off empty-handed in the direction of Springfield Avenue.  Once again, no-one was injured in the incident.

The PSNI have appealed for information on all the incidents.

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