Village rallies round after armed robbery

Shaken but grateful to villagers for their expressions of support after the armed robbery - Suresh Arumugam. EMN-191126-112523001
Shaken but grateful to villagers for their expressions of support after the armed robbery - Suresh Arumugam. EMN-191126-112523001

A 35-year-old man has been charged with armed robbery of a village shop.

James Barton, of Dean Close, has been charged with two counts of making threats with a knife, theft and robbery.

All relate to incidents at Leasingham’s Crescent Stores on Saturday morning at 6.50am, and the previous evening, and Barton was bailed by Lincoln Magistrates for trial at Lincoln Crown Court on December 23. Bail was granted on condition that he live and sleep each night at Hillingford Way, Grantham, to prevent offending.

It is alleged a man left the shop without paying for two bottles of vodka - no one was injured. A similar incident is alleged to have happened the previous evening.

From about 11.30am on Saturday nearby residents on Dean Close were asked to stay in their homes as armed police swarmed around the street, and an ambulance was on standby, until a man was arrested and escorted away in handcuffs at about 12.50pm.

“We would like to thank nearby residents for their understanding while we carried out this arrest,” said a police statement.

The 40-year-old shop owner, Suresh Arumugam, says he and his wife have been left shaken by the ordeal, but grateful to the rest of the community who have rallied round with offers of support and reassurance that the village is normally a quiet, safe place.

Mr Arumugam said they moved into the shop with their three young children two months ago from Nottingham, attracted by the quiet life.

He said: “My wife was panicked and stressed about the incidents. She has not experienced anything like this, but I worked for Tesco for 10 years and am more used to such problems.”

He said in both incidents there was another customer in the shop, and so he backed off rather than potentially escalate the situation by resisting.

Mr Arumugam said: “The local people have been very supportive. They don’t want this sort of thing happening in their village. We want to make sure this does not happen again.”