Masked gang tie up and threaten Applegreen employee with gun - here's what we know so far

A masked gang tied a NI service station employee to a drinks machine and threatened him with a firearm - here's what we know so far.

When and where did the incident take place?

The Applegreen service station on Crankill Road, Ballymena.

The Applegreen service station on Crankill Road, Ballymena.

At an Applegreen service station on Crankill Road, Ballymena between 2:15am and 2:30am on Friday morning.

What happened?

According to the PSNI the male member of staff was approached by a man outside the premises who was armed with a handgun.

He directed the employee back inside the store and was then joined by three other males. They were all dressed in black coats, dark-coloured bottoms and wearing white ski masks and gloves.

At one point, the gunman hid behind the till and instructed the staff member to serve a female customer. He then produced clear plastic bin bags and instructed the employee to fill them with cigarettes. He also took a sum of cash and the contents of a charity box.

The staff member was then tied up with his own belt and a length of wire to a drinks’ machine.

Was the employee able to escape?

Yes. The employee managed to free himself after a period of time and raise the alarm, reporting the incident to police around 4am.

What about the female customer who walked in during the robbery?

"We would also like to speak to the female customer who unwittingly entered the premises during the incident. Whilst we do not believe she was connected in any way to the robbery, she may have information that could help with our investigation into what took place," said PSNI Detective Sergeant Peter Crothers.

What should I do if I have information relating to the robbery?

Police have appealed for anyone with information about this crime to contact them on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 142 of 9/11/18.

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.