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Security guards to protect vets clinic; CRIME: Staff at sick animal practice left terrified by two armed robberies.

Byline: By Edward Chadwick

A VETS clinic has employed its own undercover security guard after staff were left terrified by two armed robberies just weeks apart.

In the latest raid, a terrified nurse had a handgun held to his head as masked men demanded cash from the till.

The gang struck less than two months after a man carrying a knife burst in to the clinic and forced staff to hand over cash.

A full-time security guard is now based at the Pet Vaccination Clinic, in Stechford, to keep gangs at bay and staff said they were petrified every time the door to the reception area was opened.

Victim Michael Leachman, aged 19, said: "Since the second robbery, everybody has been terrified that when the door opens, it's going to be someone coming to rob us again.

"You don't expect it to happen to you while you are working at a vets.

It's not like we are a bank.

"The man just marched in and pointed the gun at my head and started shouting that he wanted the money in the till.

"It took me a few days to get over the shock.

"We all feel better since the security guard has started working but it's always in the back of your mind that someone might come back."

The gunmen struck as Michael, from Sutton Coldfield, and other staff were closing the premises for business on the afternoon of March 20.

It is believed a second man may have acted as lookout in the doorway during the raid.

In the first robbery, carried out at the beginning of February, a masked man wielding a knife burst in to the reception area Only a few hundred pounds was taken on each occasion.

Zoe Paget, nursing manager for the clinic, said: "It's quite an unusual step for a vets practice to use its own security but we felt that the safety of our staff was the most important thing.

"Thankfully there were no customers in the clinic at the time, but that could easily have been so different.

"Some of the staff now feel quite vulnerable because we are not in a position where we have the same security as a bank."

A police spokesman said: "A lone male offender entered the clinic and threatened staff with a firearm, demanding cash. He escaped with a quantity of money on foot. No shots were fired and no-one was injured."

Anyone with information can call police on 0845 113 5000.

CAPTION(S):

ORDEAL...(from left) Michael Leachman, Carrie Borthwick, Lesley Toner, Megan Vincent, Alex Rosielle and Julie Liney at the Pet Vaccination Clinic where armed robbers have pounced. Picture: Neil Pugh Photo ref: NP070408Pet-2
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 22, 2008
Words:450
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