12:00 Tuesday 17 December 2013

Cops need new leads to catch armed offenders

Written byRICHARD CASTLE

POLICE are still seeking information to aid their investigation into an attempted break-in by four masked men armed with a gun and a sword.

Staffordshire Police has been looking for the offenders since November 28, when they tried to break into a house in Gorsty Hill, Tean.

Officers were called to the house at around 8.20pm but the offenders had made their escape.

And police are now making a fresh appeal for information.

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “One of the offenders was armed with a firearm and another with a sword.

“The householder was able to defend himself and the offenders made off in a dark coloured vehicle believed to be a Volvo XC90.

“The offenders are described as Asian, aged 20 to 30, of slim build and between 5ft 8in and 5ft 10in in height.

“All four wore dark clothing and hats with scarves covering the lower parts of their faces.”

The attempted raid came the week after a 29-year-old man was arrested and charged with attempted robbery and threatening a person with a knife or sharply pointed article at the Co-op in Tean’s High Street.

At around 9.15pm on Friday, November 22, police were called to a report of a man armed with a knife attempting to commit a robbery at the Co-operative Late Shop.

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “He was confronted by the male shop assistant and fled empty handed.

“The offender was located nearby shortly after and taken into custody.”

The offender has been named as Matthew Thomas Jukes, aged 29, of Cheadle Road in Tean.

He has been charged with attempted robbery and threatening a person with a knife or sharply pointed article in a public place.

He appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on November 25 and is now due to appear at crown court on March 3, 2014.

Former Tean councillor and businesswoman Lynne Plant said the use of weapons as part of the offences was ‘scary’.

She said: “It is scary that two such incidents have happened within a week in our village. Yes we hear of these things happening in cities but it’s worrying when it happens on your doorstep. We have a lot of elderly residents.

“We need to be more vigilant and make sure we all lock up and also look out for each other.”

Ms Plant, who has run Shades Hair and Beauty, in Tean, for 40 years, said: “Yes - we have had a few break-ins in the village over the years but, as far as I know, none of them where weapons have been involved.

“My heart goes out to the people who have been affected by these incidents.

“We have got to be strong and look after each other.”

Anyone with any information regarding the Gorsty Hill offence is being asked to call 101 and quote incident 704 of 28 November.

Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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