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'We thought we were safe here' - Staff relive terrifying moment a masked gunman stormed their restaurant

PUBLISHED: 14:32 04 January 2019

Royal Garden restaurant on Besthorpe Road, Attleborough. Picture: Bethany Wales

Royal Garden restaurant on Besthorpe Road, Attleborough. Picture: Bethany Wales

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Staff whose restaurant was targeted by a masked gunman said they no longer felt safe in the town.

A masked man armed with a hand gun robbed the Royal Garden restaurant in Attleborough last night. Photo: Bethany WalesA masked man armed with a hand gun robbed the Royal Garden restaurant in Attleborough last night. Photo: Bethany Wales

The armed robbery happened around 7.30pm on Thursday at the Royal Garden restaurant on Besthorpe Road in Attleborough.

A masked man, described as white and around 5 ft 8, entered the restaurant carrying what is believed to be a hand gun and demanded waitresses empty the till.

The owner’s sister arrived on scene shortly after the robbery and said she believed they were targeted because there were only two members of staff working in the empty restaurant at the time.

The Attleborough woman said: “It was two ladies in here alone when the robber came in - it’s scary and terrible to be confronted by someone in a mask.

A masked man armed with a hand gun robbed the Royal Garden restaurant in Attleborough last night. Photo: Bethany WalesA masked man armed with a hand gun robbed the Royal Garden restaurant in Attleborough last night. Photo: Bethany Wales

“You expect this kind of thing in big cities like Manchester, London or even Norwich, but not in Attleborough. We thought we were safe here but now we don’t feel safe at all.”

The masked gunman stormed the restaurant just minutes after the last customer left and the owner said she believed he had been watching from outside until he knew the women were alone.

She said: “7.30 is our busiest time so a customer could have walked in at any point. I was shocked he came in so early because there was not much money in the till at that point as not many customers had been through yet.”

Nobody was hurt as a result of the robbery and the owner’s sister said they were thankful their staff were safe.

She said: “We don’t care about the money; our colleagues were incredibly scared and did the right thing handing the cash over. If they hadn’t he probably would have done something very bad to them.”

She added the robber, believed to be in his early 20s, seemed nervous and jittery during the attack and she believed he was desperate for quick cash.

Despite the ordeal, staff at the restaurant said the police had been incredible and a number of Attleborough residents had been in touch to offer their support.

Police are currently investigating the incident and are appealing for anyone with information or who witnessed suspicious activity around the time of the attack to contact Thetford CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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