Police hunt gunman after hold-up at Fraddon petrol station
An armed robber is on the run after threatening staff at a petrol station in Cornwall with a handgun before fleeing with a quantity of scratch cards.
The masked man entered the Shell garage, just off the A30 at Fraddon, Mid Cornwall, at around 10.30pm on Monday brandishing a firearm and demanding the tills were opened.
He fled with only the scratch cards after being told that the tills could not be opened.
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Armed police officers and the force helicopter were called to the scene of the robbery and carried out initial searches. Inquiries were continuing yesterday although the armed robber remains at large.
Detective Sergeant Daniel Massey said it appeared the suspect has waited until the forecourt and shop were empty before striking.
"The individual had in his possession either a silver or white metal coloured handgun," he said. "He requested that the tills were opened but for security reasons staff were not able to.
"As a result of that we can only presume that he has chosen the next most valuable items, which were the scratch cards, and then left."
An immediate search of the area was carried out on Monday night by members of the force support group. That was repeated yesterday revealing the suspect's possible escape routes.
It is not known whether the man, who was wearing a green balaclava and blue striped top, fled on foot or by car or motorbike. Police have yet to establish when the handgun was a firearm, an imitation or a realistic-looking toy.
The value of the scratch cards stolen in the raid has not been disclosed.
Det Sgt Massey said the member of staff threatened during the incident was "surprisingly OK" and had been able to assist officers.
He added: "Obviously this is an awful thing to happen to anyone and deeply impactive.
"In my experience there may be adverse effects once they have had time to think about things."
Detectives were yesterday examining CCTV from the garage as well as carrying out house-to-house inquiries nearby and reassuring local residents.
The area is believed to have been busy at the time of the robbery with a McDonald's restaurant and Premier Inn both nearby.
Police said youngsters regularly meet up in McDonald's car park and appealed for anyone who may have seen the suspect before or after the robbery to come forward.
Det Sgt Massey stressed that such attacks were "very, very rare" in both Devon and Cornwall. As a result, he said, others may already know who is responsible.
The suspect is a white man aged 18-23 and about 5ft 8ins.
Anyone with information about the attack is urged to contact the force on 101 and quote incident GC/12/363 or call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.