A service station employee was tied up with his own belt and threatened at gunpoint during a robbery in Co Antrim in the early hours of this morning.
The incident happened at Applegreen on Crankill Road area outside Ballymena.
Police said the male staff member was approached by a man outside the premises who was armed with a handgun between 2.15am and 2.30am.
PSNI Detective Sergeant Peter Crothers said: “He directed the employee back inside the store and was then joined by three other males. They were all dressed in black coats, dark-coloured bottoms and wearing white ski masks and gloves.
“At one point, the gunman hid behind the till and instructed the staff member to serve a female customer. He then produced clear plastic bin bags and instructed the employee to fill them with cigarettes. He also took a sum of cash and the contents of a charity box.
“The staff member was then tied up with his own belt and a length of wire to a drinks’ machine.”
The employee managed to free himself after a period of time and raise the alarm, reporting the incident to police around 4am.
Police have appealed for anyone with information about this crime to contact them on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 142 of 9/11/18.
Detective Sergeant Crothers added: “We would also like to speak to the female customer who unwittingly entered the premises during the incident. Whilst we do not believe she was connected in any way to the robbery, she may have information that could help with our investigation into what took place.”
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.