A KNIFE-WIELDING robber threatened terrified staff at a discount store before escaping with more than £2,500.
Shoppers watched in horror as the attacker brandished a kitchen knife during the early morning raid on Poundworld, at The Pipeworks shopping centre in Swadlincote.
He sneaked in through the delivery entrance, off Coppice Side, at about 8am on Sunday before demanding cash and fleeing with £2,630.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: “A man went in through the delivery entrance of the store and threatened staff.
“He was holding a knife and stole cash. A suspect was later arrested in Loughborough.”
The store remained cordoned off for much of the day as police investigated.
Mick Mulgrew, one of three Labour councillors who represents the Swadlincote ward on South Derbyshire District Council, said he was appalled.
“I’m absolutely shocked. It’s unbelievable. I think it’s disgraceful,” he said, when informed by the Mail.
“I’m just stunned and upset for the staff and hope they get counselling and the company sorts them out.
“It must have been extremely scary.
“I’m sure Poundworld will look at its security if he’s come in through the service entrance. It is going to have to do that.”
Councillor Mulgrew was particularly shocked as he had been shopping at The Pipeworks with his wife, Beryl, on the morning of the attack.
Inspector Paul Cannon, who is based at Swadlincote Police Station, in Civic Way, moved quickly to reassure the public.
He said: “They can be reassured that what we have not got is someone going around robbing shops on a regular basis.
“It’s not something we have a lot of in South Derbyshire. It’s a rare occurrence.”
Insp Cannon said police were content with their response to the raid.
He said: “We were really pleased with the police officers’ reaction and particularly the way we worked with Leicestershire Police, which meant a suspect was picked up quite quickly.”
The raid happened four months after two masked raiders targeted the New Empire Casino Lounge, in West Street, Swadlincote.
The attackers, one of whom brandished a knife, forced two women, aged 32 and 41 respectively, to give them cash before running off towards Alexandra Road.
Customers were in the arcade at the time but nobody was injured.
- A 48-year-old man was arrested later on Sunday in Leicestershire in connection with the Poundworld robbery. Charged with robbery, theft and possession of a bladed article, he appeared yesterday at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.