Life goes on ... Park Beach Bowling Club greens yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: LEIGH JENSEN
Life goes on ... Park Beach Bowling Club greens yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: LEIGH JENSEN

Bowls club terrorised by robbers

By CRAIG McTEAR

AN armed gang terrorised patrons and staff before robbing Park Beach Bowling Club on Monday night.

Three employees were attacked in the violent heist, which comes only three weeks after an armed robbery at Sawtell Bowling Club.

A bar manager was closing up at the Park Beach club when four males brandishing a sword, knives, a brick and a baton, approached him in the upstairs function area at 9.30pm.

They punched him to the floor and he sustained minor face injuries as a result.

Two of the bandits led the man to a downstairs office, where he was forced to open a safe.

As many as 19 patrons and six workers were in the club at the time.

Some of the patrons confronted the other two intruders downstairs, and kitchen staff rushed in to help.

A staff member suffered a face wound after he was struck with a chair.

He was treated at Coffs Harbour Health Campus and released later that night.

Another staff member, also in his 20s, was bashed on the wrist with the baton.

The four bandits fled the club on foot with an undisclosed sum of cash from the safe.

Police were unable to provide descriptions of gang members yesterday, but they did confirm their faces were disguised.

Investigators, including forensics officers, were at the scene on Monday night and searched the area for clues.

Police continued interviewing witnesses yesterday and doorknocked the neighbourhood.

Club management was not commenting yesterday.

Detective Acting Inspector Peter O'Reilly said the staff involved appeared to be holding up well in the aftermath of their ordeal, and counselling would be provided through the club.

"The level of violence was at the high end of the scale. The potential for serious injury was there," Mr O'Reilly said.

However, he warned people to be 'mindful of their safety and well-being' in such incidents.

"We advise the public to remain calm and not to get involved. Don't confront intruders," he said.

Anyone who may have seen suspicious activity around the club on Monday, is urged to contact Coffs Harbour police on 6652 0299.



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