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NI pharmacy team threatened with claw hammer in armed robbery

Police in Northern Ireland are investigating a robbery of a pharmacy in Portadown earlier this week involving a man who threatened staff with a claw hammer.

At around 10:45am on Wednesday (April 28), a man wearing dark clothing, a woollen beanie hat and a black face mask reportedly entered the pharmacy on Church Street in the County Armagh town and took a claw hammer from a black holdall, according to a statement issued by the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI).

He then proceeded to threaten staff members, before going to the rear of the counter and taking “a quantity of” prescription medicine, according to PSNI. The man was then reported to have left the vicinity on a bicycle, travelling through Church Street, Mandeville Street and West Street.

According to PSNI: “No staff members were injured as a result of the incident, but were left badly shaken.”

PSNI is calling for anyone with information about the incident to call detectives in Lurgan on 101, quoting the reference number 518 28/04/21, or to submit a report online.

“Dreadful experience”

Gerard Greene, chief executive of Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland, tweeted in response: “Dreadful experience for the staff of this pharmacy, with both staff and public put at risk as a consequence. Worrying and unacceptable increase in the frequency of attacks on pharmacies.”

In February, a pharmacist in Northern Ireland was physically assaulted for asking a customer to wear a face mask.

Earlier that month, the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board had announced that community pharmacies would be able to access up to £4,000 in funding for security measures, following a “zero tolerance” campaign against abuse in 2017.

Have you experienced abusive behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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