30 Dec 2009

Police release security footage of armed holdup

6:11 pm on 30 December 2009

Police in South Auckland are releasing security footage from the armed robbery of a Manurewa tavern in the hope of prompting witnesses to come forward.

Three masked men robbed the Bellbird Arms Tavern in McAnnalley Street with a sawn-off shotgun just after midday on Tuesday, taking $16,000 - $20,000 in cash.

Police say the men ordered staff to the ground and demanded they open the cash safe.

The trio then demanded the contents of the tavern's TAB till.

Police say the men left the tavern by the rear door, and took off in a Nissan Cefiro driven by a fourth person.

The vehicle had been stolen from East Tamaki earlier in the day, but has since been recovered in Manurewa.

Detective Sergeant Eddie Sutherland says police are still speaking to 10 customers who were in the tavern during the robbery.

He says despite the robbery taking place near a busy road in the middle of the day, few people have come forward and police have no strong leads.

Mr Sutherland says they are releasing the security footage from inside the tavern in the hope people will recognise the men from their mannerisms.

He says anyone with information about the robbery can contact police anonymously.

Manager feared for customers' safety

Earlier on Wednesday tavern manager Brian McKinnon told Summer Report there were about 15 customers in the bar.

He said he was worried a customer might "do something stupid" like run at the robbers, and get hurt. Mr McKinnon says staff are trained to cope with such incidents so he was less concerned for his own safety.

Detective Sergeant Sutherland says police have been examining the abandoned vehicle.

Police have described the robbery as well planned. No one was hurt.