Man charged over robbery

A WEE WAA man has been charged after he allegedly used a shotgun to rob a bottle shop in Armidale on the weekend.

Detectives swooped on the 27-year-old man in Armidale yesterday afternoon as part of the investigation into the armed hold up of Freddy’s Liquor Store on Saturday night.

Police will allege the man, who concealed his face using a balaclava, stormed the shop on Queen Elizabeth Dr and threatened the shopkeeper with a shotgun, before fleeing on foot with a sum of cash.

Investigators also believe they have seized the gun allegedly used in the hold-up.

“Following the arrest, an Armidale premises was searched and a number of items of interest were seized, including a shortened firearm which police will allege was used in the armed robbery,” New England acting crime manager, Detective Inspector Roger Best told The Leader last night.

No one was injured during the ordeal and no shots were fired but the quick arrest came after an intensive investigation by local detectives.

Following the alleged hold up, detectives set up a crime scene and specialist forensic officers were called in to comb the scene for clues before yesterday’s breakthrough.

Late last night, detectives charged the 27-year-old over the armed robbery.

It’s not the first time the store has been hit by a hold-up, after a man threatened staff with a knife in May last year.

Adrian Morris was later jailed for five years for the armed robbery and one other in the town and police maintain they have the upper hand in robbery investigations.

“Although we don’t have a very high rate of robberies in Armidale, which is pleasing, our clear-up rate is very high,” Detective Inspector Best said.

“This was a very unusual event for Armidale, and it was concerning that a firearm was used.”

Police maintain there has been no firearm used in a robbery in a number of years in the town and, due to the seriousness of the offence, and detectives poured every resource into the investigation.

“The victim in this matter remained calm and followed the recommended procedure and fortunately no one was injured,” Detective Inspector Best said.

“However, the possibility of the offender committing another offence, and another victim being not so fortunate was weighing heavily on our mind.”

The man, who is believed to be visiting Armidale, was refused bail by police last night and is expected to front an out-of-sessions bail court in Armidale today.


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