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Man robs Tilgate newsagents as residents woken to police helicopter overhead

The robber claimed he had a gun.

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At 8.05am on Sunday (21 July) a man entered Martins newsagents in Tilgate Parade, Crawley, threatened and pushed the member of staff and took a quantity of cash, believed to be less than £100, from the safe before making off on foot.

The man said he had a gun, but one was not seen. He is described as white, about 5’10” and of medium build.

He was wearing a black hoody up, with white stripes down the arms and a Nike emblem on the front, a pale pink scarf covering his mouth and nose, long grey jogging bottoms and dark coloured trainers with a white sole.

The member of staff was shaken but not physically injured.

A police helicopter was called in to help officers search the area but the man was not found.

Detective Sergeant Mark Miller said:

“If you were in the area around Tilgate Parade and saw anything that might help our investigation, please contact us online or by calling 101, quoting serial 375 of 21/07.

“You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.” 

Residents reported hearing and seeing a police helicopter overhead from about 8:30am till after 10 with many speculating on social media as to what was happening.

The newsagents has been robbed twice previously in the past 9 months.

Once in October ’18 and again in May this year. On both occasions the robber made off with cash.

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Give Crawley back its police, demands towns council leader

Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb has called for the Prime Minister to return funding to Crawley’s police after he says new figures show cuts to police budgets are much higher than the new funding recently announced.

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In a press statement Cllr Lamb says that Sussex Police have lost 32.3% of their funding from central government, leaving local policing in a weakened state.

Speaking about the state of policing in Crawley, Cllr Lamb said:

“Following the loss of frontline officers, crime and antisocial behaviour are now the top issues residents raise with me on the doorstep. They are tired of seeing it in our town centre and across Crawley’s neighbourhoods. Only the police have the power to end the decline and only the Government has the funding to give us the officers we need.

“We deserve more from our Prime Minister than empty promises, it’s time he learnt to keep his word and gave Crawley back its police.”

Crawley Labour adds that this news comes on the back of recent revelations that despite 98% of police officers lost from the service in recent years having been cut from the frontline, around 7,000 police recruits will never see frontline duty.

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