At around 9pm on Sunday 15 December 2019, police were called to reports of a robbery at a Co-Op store on Church Street, Orrell.
Three men entered the store and staff were threatened with a yellow handled hammer. Two of the men jumped over the counter and filled a large bag with cigarettes as well as the contents of the tills whilst the third man – who was wielding the hammer – forced one member of staff into the cash office and demanded that the safe was opened.
They were unable to gain access to the safe, however the three men fled with the bag full of cigarettes and cash.
Police believe they made off in a silver Vauxhall Astra which drove from Church Street on to Sefton Road in the direction of Upholland.
All three of the men were described as wearing full face balaclavas at the time.
The second incident, which police believe is linked, took place approximately 40 minutes later. Three men entered a McColl store on Atherton Road, Hindley Green. Two men jumped over the counter and stole cigarettes whilst the third man – who was again wielding the hammer – forced a member or staff in to the cash office and demanded that the safe was opened. They were, once again, unable to gain access to the safe.
Enquiries have established that a dark coloured vehicle was parked on nearby Argyle Street.
No one was injured during the robberies however the victims were understandably left shaken and upset by the ordeal.
The offenders made off with a quantity of cigarettes and also alcohol.
Detective Constable Brendan Greally, of GMP’s Wigan division, said: “These are determined and organised criminals who have clearly planned these attacks. They are willing to threaten innocent victims with weapons and have total disregard for the safety of others.
“I believe that these offenders will be trying to sell large quantities of cigarettes and would urge anyone who has any information at all or has witnessed any of these robberies to contact police immediately.
“I would also like to appeal to anybody who lives or works in the vicinity of these offences to check their CCTV to see if it has captured anything that could be of use to the investigation.”
Anyone who has any information about the robberies should contact police on 0161 856 7259 quoting incident number 2759 of 15/12/2019.
Details can also be passed on anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.