Crime

‘No one expected robbery to happen’

  • Police at Pompano Beach Club in Southampton after the robbery (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

A robber terrorised four female staff and the general manager in a raid at an upmarket Southampton resort yesterday.

The man, who was wearing a full-face helmet, threatened Pompano Beach Club staff with a knife and demanded access to the safe.

The raider ran off after being given “a small amount” of cash and escaped on the back of a motorcycle, which was driven by an accomplice.

Larry Lamb, general manager of the resort, said the staff were shaken but unhurt in the raid.

He said: “There wasn’t anything aggressively done to everyone, and thank God for that.

“A few of the ladies are shaken as no one ever expects this to happen. But thankfully no one was harmed.”

Mr Lamb said he was in his office when the man burst in and demanded he open the safe.

He added: “He came in looking for a safe but the thing is, we don’t really have a safe.

“Most of our business is done with credit cards.

Mr Lamb pointed out the island is in the off-season so hotels would not be at peak capacity or have large amounts of cash takings.

He said: “It was weird that they would choose this time of year to rob a hotel.

“They got a small amount of cash. Pretty small, really. They then took off. It all happened very quickly.

“Until they were leaving, I didn’t even know there were two people involved.”

Mr Lamb said the incident lasted less than two minutes and that police arrived at the scene very quickly.

He added: “We’ve never had something like this happen before.

“We have security, but I guess we’ll have to evaluate the situation and decide in what direction we need to go.

“You always evaluate these things, but police were Johnny-on-the-spot, and I’m confident they will apprehend the guys.”

Mr Lamb said the hotel was targeted more than 15 years ago by burglars, who escaped with an empty safe.

He added: “They dragged it all the way out, scratched the hell out of the floor and took it somewhere.

“But it was locked, closed and empty, so we got lucky on that.”

A police spokesman said officers were alerted to an armed robbery at the hotel just after 11am.

He added: “Initial reports indicate that two men on a motorcycle arrived at the hotel, with one entering the establishment brandishing a bladed article and demanding money.

“It appears that the other suspect was waiting on the motorcycle and both suspects then made good their escape, apparently with a quantity of cash.”

Police, who have appealed for witnesses, today described both men as light complexioned and 6ft, wearing dark coloured jackets.

Anyone with information should contact Sergeant Renay Rock at the Criminal Investigation Department on 247-1744 or the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477.