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Pharmacy staff terrified where raiders will strike next

Terrified pharmacy staff have been left fearing where armed robbers will strike next after three raids in nine days.

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Masked men have targeted three Lloyds pharmacies in Bushbury, Codsall and Perton threatening workers with a mysterious liquid that could be acid, before taking perfumes and aftershave.

The latest raid came on Wednesday this week when robbers burst into the Anders Square branch in Perton, again snatching aftershave and perfumes worth thousands of pounds. Police have not officially linked the raids but they have all been at Lloyds branches in the same area and followed the same pattern.

A pharmacy worker who wished not to be named said: “It’s really scary to think about what has happened so far.

“It is really unnerving thinking about it, it makes you not want to come in.

“I think it’s happening because it’s coming up to Christmas and they want the expensive items either for themselves or to sell on. The worst thing about it is how staff were threatened with a black bottle of liquid. The thieves held it up to the faces of the staff.”

The choice of weapon has also led to concern after a rise in acid attacks in the area.

Lloyds, Church Lane, Codsall

According to West Midlands Police figures, the number of acid attacks that have taken place across the region since 2015 is more than 50 with that figure expected to rise.

Councillor Mike Hardacre, who is part of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s adults and safer city scrutiny panel, said: “I am extremely concerned to think that any of our shops and residents could be subject to the type of attacks that we have heard about. I hope the police are able to catch the perpetrators of these awful crimes.”

Councillor Ian Angus, Labour councillor for Bushbury North, said: “Incidents like this are deeply troubling and the perpetrators need to be tracked down and brought to justice.”

Police are now also advising people to be aware of anyone selling aftershave and perfume and report anything suspicious.

Previously, the thieves struck at the branch in Church Road in Codsall and at the Northwood Park branch in Bushbury.

Raiders covered their faces, wore gloves and even socks over their shoes.

Lloyds, Northwood Park, Bushbury.

A spokesman for Lloyds Pharmacies said: “Making sure that our colleagues feel safe and supported at work is our top priority.

“We are committed to fostering a supportive and caring environment for our pharmacy teams. We also have an employee assistance programme through which our teams can get advice and counselling. We’re not able to share details about specific incidents, but we are committed to ensuring that our pharmacy premises are safe and secure. We assess the security risk in all of our pharmacies, working closely with the police, and take action to mitigate risks to our customers and colleagues.” West Midlands Police confirmed officers were called to the Bushbury pharmacy at 9.55am on November 28. Police say that a man entered the shop and broke into a perfume display cabinet. He stole packages of perfumes from the shelves, left the shop and drove off in a grey car.

Staffordshire Police were called to the Codsall and Perton raids. A spokesman said: “At 5pm on December 1, two unknown offenders entered Lloyds Pharmacy, Church Road, Codsall. They had their faces covered, were wearing gloves and had socks over their shoes. They gained access to a locked cabinet, and loaded a bag that they were carrying with fragrances worth over £1800.00. The offenders made threats with an unknown substance and then fled the scene. Fortunately no one was injured.”

Of the Perton raid, police said: “At 11.25am on Wednesday, two unknown offenders entered Lloyds Pharmacy, Anders Square, Perton.

“They gained access to a fragrance cabinet by removing the doors, and took a selection of perfumes.” Anyone with information should call police on 101.