Terror as masked robber holds up Portsmouth arcade with knife

RAID A knife-wielding robber holding on to a member of staff at Regency Leisure Arcade in North End.
RAID A knife-wielding robber holding on to a member of staff at Regency Leisure Arcade in North End.

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THIS is the terrifying moment a robber held up an arcade at knifepoint.

Relief manager Damien Dart had just started his shift when the masked raider struck at Regency Leisure Arcade in Gladys Avenue, North End, Portsmouth.

BOSS Damien Dart, 32, a relief manager at Regency Gaming

BOSS Damien Dart, 32, a relief manager at Regency Gaming

The 32-year-old was in the kitchen at the back of the arcade with another staff member when they were confronted by the robber carrying a knife in his hand.

The thief walked over to Mr Dart’s colleague, grabbed her and held a knife to her face and demanded money.

Mr Dart said: ‘He put the knife up to her face, about an inch or two away. He started making demands for money.

‘We usually have a money belt on so I instinctively tried to give that to him. Then he said “open the safe” and pointed to it.

‘It’s hidden away but he seemed to have knowledge of the building because he knew exactly where to go.

‘I wasn’t about to argue. I opened the safe, took out all that we had in notes in the safe and turned round to give it to him.’

By this time the robber, still holding the terrified woman arcade worker, who has not been named, at knifepoint, had walked from the kitchen into the arcade.

He took £1,180, let her go and fled. A customer ran after him and chased the robber on foot to the area of Derby Road car park, through Pitcroft Road towards the Mountbatten Centre and Alexandra Park, but eventually lost sight of him.

Now police have released these CCTV images of the robbery, which happened at about 2.15pm on Sunday.

It is the second time the business has been robbed in the past three years.

Mr Dart added: ‘The whole thing lasted about 45 seconds. It was frightening for the customers as well as the staff. The customers were fantastic. They did help out.’

Detective Constable Verity Lamb said: ‘This was a terrifying ordeal for the victim and her colleagues. It’s been a terrible shock for them all and they are understandably very shaken by what has happened.

‘There were a number of witnesses present at the time of the incident. We would urge anyone who might have seen this man, and who hasn’t already spoken to the police, to make contact. We are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who saw the offender running from the scene, or saw him in the area prior to or after the robbery. It is possible that someone will recognise the man in the CCTV. Do you know someone who has recently obtained a large quantity of cash? If you think you know who this man is, please contact us at the earliest opportunity.’

The suspect spoke with an Eastern European accent, is more than 6ft tall and of a medium build. Call Fratton CID on 101.