AN ARMED gang which threatened two female members of staff in a late night robbery has been described as ‘sick’.
Staff and a customer at Red Lodge Café were threatened with metal bars and ordered to open a till and safe during the robbery at around 2.30am on Saturday.
One of the staff members, an 18-year-old woman, was grabbed round the neck by one of the men, who shouted at her to open the till and demanded a key for the safe. He then stole her handbag, despite her pleading for him not to.
Rachel Webster-Sterry, café manager, said the teenager was shaken by the event and had been offered counselling by the police.
“These men have got to be sick to frighten people like this – you just can’t think of what is going through their minds.
“These girls are like all of us, they go to work because they have to earn a living and people think they have got the right to take our money,” she said.
Ms Webster-Sterry said it was very rare for the café to have large amounts of cash on the premises, but on that night there was at least £100.
The robbers increased their haul by snatching three charity boxes from the cafe’s counter. The boxes – containing donations for East Coast Truckers, East Anglian Air Ambulance and Royal National Institute for Blind People – were almost full, according to Ms Webster-Sterry.
Police are now seeking information on the incident.
It began when two masked men entered the café, while a further three waited outside. Four of the men were armed with metal bars.
One of the men vaulted the café’s counter and went into the kitchen where staff were working. It was then that he grabbed the 18-year-old member of staff and dragged her through to the till area.
The men made off with cash, the handbag and charity boxes in a small white 4x4 towards Newmarket on the A11.
A stolen white Suzuki Vitara was later found burnt-out in a field in Chippenham, Cambridgeshire.
Det Inspector David Giles, said: “This was extremely frightening for the customers and staff at the cafe, and we have been carrying out inquiries in Red Lodge over the weekend and providing support to the witnesses.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101.