Masked gunman ‘says please’ during raid on Dagenham convenience store
- Credit: Archant
A shop assistant who had a gun pointed at her in an armed robbery last night bravely returned to work this morning.
Mum-of-three Patricia King was preparing to cash up at Hunters Convenience Store, in Wood Lane, Dagenham, just after 9pm when she was threatened by a masked man wearing a hoody.
“I was completely terrified,” the 31-year-old told the Post. “Straight away I thought, ‘I need to get home to my kids’.”
The man, who is described as about 5’11” and spoke with an Eastern European accent, demanded all the cash in the till – which only amounted to about £200.
“He made sure we completely cleared the tills so he got everything – but there was a moment where he hesitated and that really scared me,” Patricia said.
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“He asked for a plastic bag before he ran off, and even said ‘please’ – that made me so angry for some reason.”
Patricia said she couldn’t sleep last night because every time she closed her eyes she “saw the gun” – but she refused to let the robber win by not coming to work this morning.
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“My youngest, who’s three, didn’t want me to come to work ‘in case the bad man came back’,” Patricia, who has worked at the shop for 10 years, said. “But I had to pull myself together, even though I had a little cry afterwards.
“I really want him to be caught, I want him to be punished. No-one has the right to terrify people like that.
“But I think myself lucky I got to go home to my kids in the end.”
Also present behind the till was an 18-year-old shop assistant who Patricia said “was totally shocked” – but “handled himself very well”.
“He was great,” she said. “But an 18-year-old is still a child, really – you can’t be doing things like this to a child.”
For owner Aleck Hunter, 78, the robbery was not particularly surprising, but he hopes the perpetrator can be brought to justice.
“The amount of crime I’ve had over the years is quite a lot,” Aleck, who is from Dagenham and started working at the shop in 1957, said.
“So I’m not too surprised. There are lots of thieves around – too many people in the country who think it’s okay to steal – but we train our staff well and they handled this perfectly.”
Aleck, however, doesn’t think what happened to his shop is unique to modern times.
“I don’t think it’s worse now,” the RAF veteran said. “People who say it was so wonderful in the old days are wrong.
“There have always been bad guys – and bad girls – in the population.”