Shop owner had gun pointed in face

A SHOP owner had a gun pointed in his face as three men attempted to rob the shop he has managed for 15 years.

The men broke into the filling station on the Monteith Road in Annaclone in the early hours of last Wednesday morning and threatened the shop’s owner, claiming they were part of a paramilitary group.

The victim, who did not wish to be named following his ordeal at around 2am last Wednesday, was clearly shocked when he spoke to the Leader.

“I live near the shop and have very good neighbours around here,” he said. “One of my neighbours saw the light going on at the carwash and then heard them banging on the panel of the door of the shop.”

The armed men broke the carwash light before breaking in to the shop where they were cornered by the manager, who had made his way to his business premises within minutes of the incident.

The men shouted what he described as “sectarian abuse” towards him before escaping in a waiting car. While nothing was taken from the shop, the man said he had been left shaken by the events.

“There were three in the shop but I assume there was another person waiting in the car to drive them away,” the man explained. “Having a gun pointed in your face is not exactly what you would call a pleasant experience.”

It is believed the men drove off in the direction of the Glebe Road and police are investigating criminal damage at the shop.

Local councillor Elizabeth Ingram condemned the incident and said it is particularly tough for shop owners in this economic climate.

“Thankfully no-one was hurt in this incident but no doubt it must have been a frightening experience for the shop owner.

“It just makes us realise that this type of activity can take place anywhere at any time. Businesses are finding it difficult enough at the minute without being targeted in this way.”

Anyone who witnessed the robbery or who was in the area and noticed anything suspicious is asked to contact police at Banbridge on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively information about crime can be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.