Gosport charity shop staff left terrified after teenagers with crowbar ambush store in harrowing 10-minute ordeal

STAFF at a charity shop in Gosport were left terrified after a gang of youths stormed onto the premises before brandishing a crowbar during a frightening 10-minute ordeal – before a woman with a baby leapt to the rescue.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 4:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 6:00 pm
Lorraine and Stuart Pottinger outside Jacob's Well Care Centre in Toronto Place in Gosport

The mob of four teenagers ‘caused a ruckus’ after turning up at the Jacobs Well Care Centre at 10.30am yesterday – leaving customers and staff scared they would be beaten to a pulp.

The intruders, who have targeted the charity shop before in the last six months, ramped up their onslaught before eventually leaving – launching a vile torrent of abuse at those inside the Toronto Place premises.

The saga finally ended when a woman with a baby in a pushchair grappled with the teenager who was holding the crowbar. A man with a walking stick also piled in to help.

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Lorraine and Stuart Pottinger outside Jacob's Well Care Centre in Toronto Place in Gosport

The charity donates furniture and food for the homeless and those on low incomes.

Lorraine Pottinger, manager of the charity, said: ‘Four teenagers turned up and started causing a ruckus for up to 10 minutes. One of them picked up a crowbar and started waving it around over his head. I thought he could use it.

‘They were shouting and threatening everyone who was in the shop. It was harrowing.

‘In the end a woman with a baby in a pushchair grabbed the crowbar out of his hand. A man with a walking stick came over to help as well.

‘I was asking them to leave the shop. I was worried about the customers. It shook me up but we kept the shop open because we can’t let the people down we help.

‘The teenagers have been in the shop before causing trouble.’

Police were contacted over the incident, but Ms Pottinger admitted she doubted anything would happen. ‘The police asked us what I thought should happen. I said “I’m not the police”.

‘We don’t want it to happen again. The teenagers need to be told otherwise they will just keep coming back in here.’

Police confirmed there was a ‘public order’ incident at Jacobs Well Care Centre which saw a teenager brandish a crowbar. ‘A teenager picked up a crowbar as he left the shop. It was later recovered by a member of the public,’ a spokesman said.