Terror at knifepoint near Petworth

A PETROL station attendant has relived the terror of his knifepoint ordeal after a masked robber burst into his garage.

Thursday, 18th December 2014, 7:00 am
The Flower Bowl Garage

Navayogan Veerasingam was preparing to close The Flower Bowl Garage on the A283 between Petworth and Northchapel on Monday (December 15) evening when a man came through the door brandishing a crowbar and a knife and made off with around £800.

Little did the robber know the whole nightmare was being played out on state-of-the art closed circuit television which the garage owners had installed only seven days earlier.

“He came towards me threatening me with the crowbar in one hand and a knife in the other,” said Navayogan who was unhurt but deeply shocked.

Police have released this image of the knife point robbery in Petworth SUS-141216-132742001

“He had a blue shoulder bag and he kept asking me for the money. He was very nervous and kept shouting and looking round to see if anyone was coming in.

“I was terrified and he pushed me back behind the till. He threw the shoulder bag at me and told me to fill it with the money.

“He asked for cigarettes as well, but I was trying to do everything slowly in the hope that someone would come in.

“He was in a hurry and didn’t get any cigarettes.

“Then he ripped the telephone line out of the wall and stuffed it in the bag with my mobile and ran out.”

Navayogan raised the alarm on another telephone behind him in the office where a television screen was clearly capturing the whole incident.

The police and garage owner Prapaharan Poopalasingam were quickly on the scene.

The man dressed in dark clothes, had covered his face with a dark scarf and was wearing a dark wool hat.

A second television camera panning the forecourt in front of the garage showed him walking onto the site having parked his getaway car further up the road.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Det Sgt Jo French said: “This is an unusual incident for this area and we believe several vehicles drove past the garage around the time we are keen to trace these people.”

For the full story, see this week’s Observer (December 18).