|Police hunt two men responsible for a string of robberies
Police are hunting two men responsible for a string of robberies across Wigan in the past few months.
Since September 2012, there have been nine robberies which police in Wigan may be the work of two separate offenders.
CCTV stills of the two men suspected of these robberies have now been released and police are appealing to anyone who recognises either of the offenders to come forward.
Police believe a robbery at the Weekender Off Licence on Chapel Street, Leigh on 3 November 2012, and one at the Costcutters on Bolton Road in Atherton on 6 November 2012 are the work of the same man.
During the first robbery, a man wearing a scalf around his face went into the off-licence at about 5.30pm brandishing a hammer. He threatened the woman working behind the counter and stole cash.
The Costcutters robbery took place just after 7pm and again, a man wearing a scalf around his face produced a claw hammer and threatened a woman working on the tills before stealing cash.
The other seven robberies, which police suspect another man is responsible for, took place at the Cost Less store on Wigan Road on 5 November 2012, the McDonalds fast food restaurant on Tyldesley Road in Atherton on 15 November 2012 and 3 December 2012, a KFC restaurant on the Parsonage Retail Park on 23 November 2012, a McDonalds in Stone Cross on 13 December 2012 and lastly at the West Leigh Post Office on both the 21 September 2012 and on 15 December 2012.
On each occasion, the man walked up to the counter armed with either a claw hammer or a knife and threatened the staff before stealing cash. In total, more than £4,000 was stolen.
Detective Constable Susan O'Connell said: "Over a four month span, there have been nine robberies all with a very similar modus operandi that we suspect is the work of two different criminals.
"However, we could not rule out others may be involved or that it might in fact be the work of just one man.
"What we can say with certainty is that these sorts of criminals have caused a lot of unrest and anxiety among the business community within Wigan by committing robberies underpinned by threats of violence.
"For most people, being threatened with a weapon in their place of work is not something they ever have to consider, so it is completely unfair for shopkeepers and staff to face this sort of violence. This should not be an occupational hazard and the best way to prevent these sorts of robberies and protect innocent shopworkers is to find the people responsible and put them behind bars.
"I would therefore appeal to anyone who either recognises the two offenders or who perhaps has information about any of the robberies themselves. If you do know something, then please speak to us, if confidence if needed."
Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 7252 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.