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Article written by John Langley, 2006

Co-op Robbery 1959

Memories of this event by John Langley - at the time an employee in the Electrical Department

The Co-op in 1961. It occupied the whole row of shops
The Office was upstairs in the section this side of the awnings

On arrival at work on the morning the robbery was discovered it was obvious something had happened as there were members of staff in the street and our shop door was unlocked and our safe was open and empty.

Everyone went up to the main office to see what had happened.

It was obvious that the explosives had been placed around the outside of the frame of the strongroom door as the door and frame lay intact on the floor, it was surrounded by torn clothing, cushions, mattresses and bricks. Most of the front wall of the room was missing.

An attempt had been made to blow open the safe inside the room but I think it was still closed, and I do not think any money was stolen from there.

However on the wall of the room was a board with hooks with all the spare keys to the shops and their safes, conveniently labelled so they were able to enter the shops and empty the safes easily, the amount of money actually stolen from the shops would have been small probably in the low hundreds as the procedure was to cash up a half-hour before the office closed, on Saturdays at 11-30am as the office closed at 12 noon and the shops at 12-30pm so just 1 hour trading and the cash float.

All the keys were found in the small front garden of one of the houses just around the corner in Church Street opposite the Conservative Club which meant that no locks needed to be changed.

Dr.Kingsley who lived nearby said later he thought he had heard a thump, but I do not recall anyone else saying they had seen or heard anything, even those who lived just across the road in Rock Terrace.

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