Business owners in Radcliffe have spoken of their fear of leaving their shop doors open or letting staff work alone after a terrifying robbery sent shockwaves through the town.

On a quiet Sunday afternoon a man armed with a meat cleaver burst into Beth’s Cafe & Sandwich Bar on Blackburn Street and threatened a member of staff before leaving with the till.

Police investigating the incident on November 12 have released an image of a person who 'may be able to assist with enquiries' and have urged anyone with information to come forward.

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The robbery has left staff at Beth’s Cafe & Sandwich Bar ‘traumatised’ and other businesses in a state of shock.

At Pearlywinks Craft Supplies, also on Blackburn Street, a sign has been placed on the door that reads: “Due to recent events in the area please knock to come in. Door locked, we are open.”

Staff at Beth's Cafe & Sandwhich Bar on Blackburn Street have been left traumatised

Owners Adam and Simon Kendall-Stockes have been left ‘shocked and anxious’ by the robbery and immediately decided to lock the shop’s front door for the safety of their staff.

Simon said: “We have two girls that work here and it’s not really fair to expect them to keep the door open now.

“We’re obviously worried. We haven’t seen any extra police around which would have been ideal in a small town like this with small businesses.”

The business owners who moved into the premises in 2019 said they fear that locking the shop door could be detrimental to sales but feel they have been left with little choice.

Businesses on Blackburn Street have been left shocked by the robbery

Simon said: “Radcliffe hasn’t got the best reputation but we don’t normally see stuff like that. When we saw it the first thing we thought about was locking the door which isn’t good because some people may push the door and not see the sign and realise we are open and carry on so we’re losing business as well.

“It has been on the decline anyway because of all the shops closing so less people are coming to Radcliffe. It’s a real shame. Having crime like that is going to keep turning people away, they’re not going to want to come here.”

Following the robbery another business owner also based on Blackburn Street, who did not wish to give her name, said she has told her staff to to keep their valuables out of sight.

“I’ve verbally told everyone to keep their valuables out the way and obviously any money is locked up”, she said

Police want to identify this man after the armed robbery

She claims that she rarely sees police in the town and the level of crime has allegedly worsened amid the pressures of the cost of living crisis.

“You can feel the desperation. It's a bit of a lawless society around here at the moment. People seem to do what they want due to the lack of governance. It’s terrible.

“All the traders are lovely and when you don’t behave like that yourself you don’t expect others too either. It’s a shame it [Radcliffe] has gone rough,” she said.

Greater Manchester Police have been approached for comment regarding claims about the lack of police presence in the town.

Alistair Johnson, the landlord of OVERdraft karaoke bar also on Blackburn Street, said he has been left shaken by the robbery.

He said: “My wife was on the bar at the time and it could have just as easily been here that he came to and she was on her own at the time. It was concerning and still is. It’s shocking.”

A Radcliffe resident, who did not give his name, said he regularly visits Beth’s Cafe & Sandwich Bar and was also left shocked after hearing about the robbery.

“It’s terrible. I’m shocked. I’ve never heard of anything like that happening around here. It’s a quiet town but now it’s on the map,” he said.

The resident said he believes the cafe may have been targeted on a Sunday when less people are in the town centre.

“This is a ghost town on a Sunday. I could be out hours and be lucky if I see anybody. I wonder if they [the cafe] should shut on Sundays now,” he said.

In a statement following the robbery, Detective Sergeant Culleton of GMP’s Bury CID, said: "Thankfully no one was harmed during this incident but it was an incredibly traumatic experience for the shop staff and customers who were in the store at the time.

"We are following all available lines of enquiry to identify the man in the image as he may be able to assist enquiries, we are appealing to anyone who may have been in the area at the time and saw anyone acting suspiciously either before or after the incident or have seen a discarded Casio store till or meat cleaver to get in touch with us.

"Anyone with information, no matter how small, should get in touch with police by calling 0161 856 1173 quoting log number 1613 of 12/11/23 or alternatively by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."