Two hour robbery ordeal
NEWSAGENT manager Steve Thompson has blasted police for not finding him sooner when he was left trapped under store shelving for two hours following an alleged robbery last week.
Reliving the frightening incident, Mr Thompson, 31, said he was about to leave his workplace at Martin’s, Town Lane, last Tuesday night when it kicked off.
He said: “I was coming to the end of my shift at about 6.20pm and as I came to open the back door of the property to leave two men jumped in and pushed me to the side.
“They were demanding the keys for the post office.
“I then went back to the office, led them that way knowing the keys weren’t in there but the panic alarm was, but as I was doing so they turned off the lights.
“I stumbled into the office and tripped the panic alarm.
“I went back into the warehouse and one of the men pushed me into the shelving which tipped and trapped me under it.”
Mr Thompson said he was left trapped in the store for nearly two hours in the dark before he was released by a police patrol. A number of cartons of cigarettes had been stolen.
He said: “The alarm company that monitors our store and indeed many more of our stores across the country, had notified the local police much earlier in the evening than what I had realised.
“In fact, the police had even attended my store, only to report a false alarm as they had simply only looked through the front doors to our store and saw lights were off, so rather than doing a complete check around the whole building, they left.
“Hearing about this has horrified me for a number of reasons, firstly had they done the complete sweep they may well have come across my attackers leaving and secondly should I have been bleeding to death or more seriously injured this could have been a much more serious incident.
“So for nearly two hours I was laying under shelving in a completely pitch black stock room, not knowing if anyone would be coming to help or not.
“I have not slept properly since; all of my staff are on high alert and are constantly concerned over who will be targeted next.
“I think it’s mad that we franchise the main post office in Shepton Mallet and still the police treated a panic alarm as a false alarm.
“I would now like to urge the local police to explain to shopkeepers what they are intending to do to protect businesses and their staff and about the lack of police patrols, in what could have been such a beautiful and pleasant environment.”
Police declined to respond to Mr Thompson’s criticisms.
Detective sergeant Vicky Rose said: “Two or three males with foreign accents are thought to have gained access to the back of the building. It would have been light at the time and the yard at the back is overlooked by houses so it’s unlikely they would have done this without being seen.
“If anyone saw anything suspicious or anyone hanging around, get in touch.”