Police working hard to protect small shops in Barking and Dagenham after violent robberies, says borough commander
Barking and Dagenham’s police chief has assured owners and employees of small shops that officers are doing all they can to keep them safe following a spate of armed robberies.
As reported in the Post, five armed raids have taken place at newsagents in Barking and Dagenham since the start of January, three involving firearms. Two stores were attacked twice.
Police are continuing to search for the culprits, but so far no arrests have been made.
The robberies took place at News and Chews, in Chelmer Crescent, Barking; Fresh Shop in Broad Street, Dagenham; and Fenbrook News, in Wood Lane, Dagenham. Thousands of pounds was stolen.
Borough commander Ch Supt Gary Buttercase said he and his colleagues were shocked at the violence of the raids on “such small community-based shops”.
He said: “The violence being used in these robberies is completely disproportionate to the money and goods that can be stolen from these small businesses. It is worrying and I can understand if shopkeepers are frightened at the moment.
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“However we want to reassure them we are doing all we can not only to find those responsible but also to keep small businesses safe. This is being done through measures such as increasing police patrols in high-risk areas and offering preventative advice to shop owners and staff.”
Shops are advised to not to retain large amounts of cash on site and to keep windows clear of objects so staff can see who is entering the store.
Mr Buttercase urged those who had not been visited by officers and were concerned over the recent attacks to contact their local Safer Neighbourhoods team.
He said armed robberies on businesses in Barking and Dagenham and across northeast London had increased over the past 12 months, but statistics from the Metropolitan Police show the number of raids involving firearms has fluctuated since 2008.
For advice on how to help prevent shop robberies go to met.police.uk/crimeprevention/business.htm
Details on the five robberies:
January 7 and 10. News and Chews, Chelmer Crescent, Barking
The store was raided by robbers armed with hammers and crowbars twice in three days. They stole a total of �5,000.
January 27. Fresh Shop in Broad Street, Dagenham.
A hooded armed man held up two staff then ran off with �950 in cash, a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka.
Febraury 10 and 13. Fenbrook Ltd, Wood Lane, Dagenham
The newsagent was robbed twice in four days by masked men armed with a gun. Around �10,000 was stolen in total.
n Anyone with information on these robberies should call the Flying Squad on 020 8345 4226 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.