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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Masked men raid Northborough Estate Co-op

Residents claims Slough Council banned external CCTV

Report and photographs: Paul Janik

4 masked raiders grabbed booze, fags and cash from a Co-op convenience store before fleeing in a car. (street map)

Half-an-hour before Northborough's Scafell Road Co-op closed at 22:00 on Saturday evening (9 April 2016) a silver-coloured 4-wheels-drive car stopped outside. 4 hooded and masked men wearing gloves got out and entered the Co-op. They were said to be carrying a large sheet.

The men tried to force open the Co-op's till using their screwdriver. It didn't work. One of the raiders then fetched a crowbar from their car.

The raiders, said to be young and white skinned (what the police call IC1) stole cigarettes, alcohol and about £80 cash.

They drove away in a westerly direction towards Whittaker Road. The number plates of their car were said to be covered by sticky tape.

Being a Saturday night police patrols were absent, so the raiders escaped for the time being although they are likely to be jailed when caught.

One source told the Slough Times the raiders appeared to be from the Travelling Community.

Another source told the Slough Times they thought one of the raiders had been in the Co-op previously posing as a shopper.

Three staff and a security guard were present during the raid. All were badly shaken by the frightening experience.

The Co-op has offered its shop staff counselling. The private company supplying security guards for the shop has not offered its guard anything. On the day after the raid (Sunday), two shop staff were absent due to stress. Also on Sunday the security guards at the shop had doubled to two.

Nearby residents criticised Labour-run Slough Borough Council for refusing to let the Co-op install CCTV cameras covering the external front of the shop. The residents say the Council's rejection reason was the cameras would offend the public's data protection. As usual, Slough Council has refused to comment.

Inside the shop the Co-op had CCTV. It is unknown whether the shop had an emergency panic alarm directly linked to the police.

Stoke Poges Co-op, in Bells Hill, was raided ten minutes before closing time on Saturday 2nd April. The nearby Britwell Co-op in Long Furlong Drive was raided on Friday evening, 20 November 2015, just 50 minutes before closing time. In Maidenhead, about 8 km (5 miles) away two Co-ops have been raided in February and March this year.

The Slough Times understands the Northborough Estate Co-op was previously raided last year.

In the Thames Valley Police territory (Bucks, Berks and Oxon) convenience shops, essentially small supermarkets, and their unprotected shop staff, are very vulnerable targets for desperate gangs. A former police officer told the Slough Times

It is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or even killed. The police lack a coherent strategy for dealing with this increasingly prevalent crime.