BETTING shop staff were locked in a back room during a terrifying knife-point robbery.
Yesterday morning a man walked into Ladbrokes, in Arundel Street, Landport, and demanded money while threatening two female staff members with a knife.
He helped himself to an unknown amount of cash from the shop’s safe before trapping the scared women in a locked room.
While the robber escaped his victims managed to attract the attention of a passer-by through a window who called the police.
Investigating officer Det Sgt Jeff Huggett of Portsmouth CID said: ‘Thankfully no-one was assaulted or injured during the robbery, but the women working in the shop are clearly upset and shaken. I would like to thank them for their co-operation and assistance so soon after such a frightening experience.
‘Examination of CCTV from the shop has identified an image of a man police wish to trace.
‘Anyone who recognises this man or knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact police or Crimestoppers if they wish to remain anonymous. Do not approach him as his behaviour may become unpredictable or dangerous if he is challenged.’
The robbery took place at about 8am and when they arrived police put up a cordon in the pedestrianised shopping area until midday.
A spokesman for Ladbrokes Richard Royal said: ‘Whilst this is a distressing incident for those involved, I can confirm nobody was injured during the robbery and that all procedures were followed by our staff.
‘The suspect is a white male, wearing a black wig, glasses and dark clothing.
‘We are working with the police to apprehend this suspect, who we believe has been responsible for similar robberies elsewhere. We have the best CCTV in the business, and this combined with any information that the public can provide should ensure his capture.’
A receptionist for a recruitment agency, who wished to be anonymous, said she couldn’t believe no one had realised a robbery was happening nearby.
She said: ‘It is shocking that someone can walk in, threaten staff, and lock them in a back room like that. Everyone was at work when it happened, but they were too busy to notice. It must have been horrible.’
Call CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.