Help police catch armed gang

POLICE need your help to track down a gang of armed bandits who have been targeting the Coffs Coast.

Callers to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 can remain anonymous, with a reward of up to $1000 on offer for information leading to an arrest.

Investigators say the robberies, which happened between September and earlier this month, have been committed by criminals who may be living in the Grafton area.

Coffs/Clarence investigations manager, Detective Senior Sergeant Peter O'Reilly, said the group appeared to travel large distances to commit these offences.

“Police recommend that staff at all licensed premises remain vigilant in their security procedures, particularly at closing time,” Snr Sgt O'Reilly said.

“The serious nature of these crimes stresses the need for the assistance of the community.

“We encourage anyone with information to contact their local detectives or Crime Stoppers. All information will be treated with the strictest confidence.”

On each occasion, the offenders have entered the clubs a short time after closing, threatened staff and escaped with small sums of cash.

Investigators have since recovered some of this cash.

It is believed each offender carries a weapon, other than a firearm, and conceals their face with clothing.

The latest incident happened at an Armidale bowling club on March 11, resulting in one of the employees sustaining a broken jaw.

The others were at the Sawtell Bowling Club on September 21, Coffs Harbour Catholic Club on December 21, North Beach Bowling Club on December 27, and Urunga Bowling Club on January 30.

Following the Urunga robbery, police were involved in the lengthy pursuit of a stolen car used during the heist, but the bandits evaded capture.

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