Masked raiders flee pub with safe cash

PUBLISHED: 15:56 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 06:55 30 May 2010

The Sutton Arms, where the robbery took place. Picture:MICHAEL BOYTON

The Sutton Arms, where the robbery took place. Picture:MICHAEL BOYTON

TWO masked robbers wielding wooden clubs threatened staff and customers during a daring pub raid on Sunday night. They smashed up a fruit machine and a laptop computer before demanding the landlord hand over the keys to her safe, which she did and they fl

TWO masked robbers wielding wooden clubs threatened staff and customers during a daring pub raid on Sunday night.

They smashed up a fruit machine and a laptop computer before demanding the landlord hand over the keys to her safe, which she did and they fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Dunmow police are now hunting down three masked men, including a getaway driver, following the robbery, which happened at The Sutton Arms pub in Little Hallingbury.

Pub landlord, Diane Aitken, was behind the bar at the time. She described how two men used wooden clubs to threaten customers and staff at around 8pm.

She said: "It was very scary, I thought they were customers at first but then I saw they were brandishing bits of wood and had balaclavas on."

The attack has scared Mrs Aitken so much that she is now afraid to continue with her business.

She said: "I have worked here for 18 years but I don't feel like it is safe to carry on now.

"I wish I could get into a criminal's mind and see why they did it. I was terrified because at the time it was just me, my daughter, one member of staff and a couple of customers.

"That time of night is always quiet on a Sunday. It is possible they knew when to attack because I didn't have many customers in at the time,. Had the pub been full I am sure they would have thought twice.

"They didn't seem happy with what they had got and decided to smash tables and chairs on the way out."

A third man, also wearing a mask, was waiting in a silver Subaru car outside the public house to make a quick get away. The car was later found on fire in Pynchon Paddocks, Little Hallingbury.

Shortly after torching the Subaru, police believe the gang made their final escape in a blue Ford Mondeo. An Essex police spokesman appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

She said: "If anyone saw three men acting suspiciously in the area or saw the Subaru or the Mondeo either before or after the robbery please call DC James Hardingham at Dunmow CID on 01371 872208."

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111.

l POLICE?are linking the raid to another, which happened at the Three Tuns pub in Guilden Morden near Royston on Sunday at 10.20pm.

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