Armed robbers strike at hotel

Three armed robbers in crash helmets threatened staff with screwdrivers and stole cash in a raid on a rural hotel.

The robbers targeted the Hunting Lodge, in High Street, Cottingham, at around 10pm on Sunday, before escaping on off-road trial bikes.

It is the fourth armed robbery in the north of the county in the last two weeks, but police say people need not be alarmed.

In the attack at the Hunting Lodge, the raiders entered through the front door of the hotel, which was still open at the time, and threatened a receptionist with screwdrivers.

They then used the screwdrivers to force open tills and steal money.

Speaking about the number of recent armed robberies, area CID manager Det Chief Insp Paul Spicer said: “There have been a few but there are not any links. There isn’t a gang going round committing the crimes – they seem to be different offenders with a different modus operandi. There have been quite a lot on businesses and robbery is up for the year. But businesses don’t need to feel under threat.

“Even though there is a rise in robberies, it is not everywhere. For example, in East Northamptonshire there were 27 in the whole of last year. It is not even one a week.”

DCI Spicer said businesses can take a number of easy steps to help protect themselves.

He said: “Don’t leave too much money in your till – make sure you bank it or put it in your safe. Vary your movements and don’t leave at the same time every day with cash. And try and work with another person.”

Corby sector commander, Insp Gary Williams, said: “Thankfully, this type of incident is rare in Corby. We are paying additional attention to licensed premises and have issued crime prevention advice about reducing the likelihood of becoming a victim.

“In recent months there have been several robberies where off-road motor cycles have been used. I would ask the public to be vigilant and report any such suspicious activity around business premises.”

Other robberies have taken place in Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden.

Masked robbers armed with baseball bats ram-raided Paragon Automotive Ltd in Corby last Tuesday and stole three Range Rover Sport vehicles worth around £45,000 each.

Robbers armed with a screwdriver stole money, scratch cards and cigarettes from the Co-op in Kingsway, Wellingborough, last Thursday.

And shopkeeper Dinesh Gorania beat off a masked man armed with a crowbar using just a mop as the offender tried to raid his shop, the Premier Store, in Church Hall Road, Rushden, on January 20.