Hunt for gang behind armed raids on shops

The same gang is believed to be behind a string of armed robberies at convenience stores in Leeds.

Detectives have released a CCTV image of three men they are looking for over six incidents – including five at Co-op shops – in a month.

Between October 17 and November 15 thieves armed with bats, crow bars, knives and hammers raided Co-op stores on Coldcotes Circus, Gipton, Spen Lane in West Park, and Aberford Road, Woodlesford, and twice targeted a shop on Oakwood Lane, Oakwood.

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The gang also robbed a Best One Store, on Raynville Rise, Bramley.

They stole cash, cigarettes, tobacco and stamps.

In one case the gang was seen escaping in a Volvo car.

All the incidents took place between 8.30pm and 11pm.

Det Con Christopher Lord, of Leeds CID, said: “We have strong evidence to suggest that these robberies are connected.

“On each occasion the people in the shops were left shaken and distressed and it is very fortunate that nobody has been hurt so far.

“We are keen to trace these individuals as soon as possible. Though they have kept their faces covered, we know that one of them has a tattoo on the back of his neck and we have images of them in the Oakwood Lane store which may jog someone’s memory.”

Anyone with information should call CID on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

The police appeal comes a week after six men were handed prison sentences totalling more than 50 years for a string of violent armed robberies at pubs and a restaurant in Leeds.