Police no closer to finding burka-clad robber

Police no closer to finding burka-clad robber

Police are no closer to finding a burka-clad robber who raided two travel agencies in Dunstable in 2009 and 2010 despite the re-release of archive CCTV footage.

The footage of a robbery at First Choice in Dunstable in July 2009 and a similar raid at Thomson in Dunstable in May 2010, both believed to be carried out by the same man, was shown on BBC1 on Friday, June 24, as part of a Crimewatch Roadshow.

Det Sgt Terry David, of Bedfordshire Police, said the phone calls received by the public since the footage was screened of the man dressed in a Muslim woman’s outfit had failed to bring in any new leads. “I am still going through the calls but so far we have not any names of who this might be,” he said.

In both cases the robber threatened travel agency staff with a knife and escaped with cash from the safe.

David endorsed renewed warnings by Mark Beale, crime prevention co-ordinator at the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, for travel agents to act quickly if they are suspicious about members of the public in their shops.

He said: “If staff are suspicious they should treat it as suspicious. If you think something is not quite right, deal with it there and then and follow your company’s procedures.”

The advice comes ahead of next month’s release of a voluntary security code for travel agents. This is being compiled by members of the Travel Agent & Bureau Security forum (Tabs), which includes major travel companies Tui Travel, Thomas Cook and The Co-operative Travel Group.

The code will give advice on tried and tested security measures for shops. Agents will be able to download the guide from the Abta website.

Beale is hopeful the code, combined with shop training and an ‘industry team effort’, will drastically reduce crimes at travel agencies. A similar collaboration with UK bookmakers resulted in a 46% decrease in robberies last year, he said, the first decline in five years.


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