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11 December 2015, 07:05
Police are looking for three men who have tried to rob three shops in south Essex armed with a crossbow.
The incidents all happened between 6.27pm and 7.15pm on Wednesday (9 December).
In the first incident, two men went Oakwood Stores, on Longcroft Rise in Loughton, threatened staff and demanded cash. The man behind the counter refused and the men left empty handed.
Then, less than half an hour later, a man entered the Rock and Roe fish and chip shop on Loughton Way in Buckhurst Hill, stole a tip jar and ran out, before getting into a gold Ford Focus.
Finally, at 7.13pm, three men went into Buckhurst Hill Stores, on High Road in Buckhurst Hill and one of them demanded money, while another threatened staff with a crossbow and a third man stood by the door.
A bolt was fired but did not hit anyone.
Officers say all three men ran off when the staff member refused to open the till. They got into a 51 plate gold Ford Focus and drove off.
Detective Inspector Greg Wood said: "We are determined to find the suspects responsible for these three crimes as soon as possible.
"We cannot tolerate the use of weapons like this on the streets of Essex and the sooner they are arrested and taken off the streets the better.
"I have officers on the ground carrying out enquiries, speaking to residents and collecting forensic evidence.
"The car involved in these robberies has now been recovered in Long Green, close to Grange Hill tube station and we would like to hear from anyone who saw this car being left.
"If anyone saw anything at any of these crimes and has any idea who these three men were I would urge them to get in touch. They can call Loughton CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. It offers rewards of up to £1,000 for information leading to the arrest and or conviction of offenders."
Essex Police said: "All three suspects were white. The first was of medium build, 5ft 9in tall, aged 19 to 24, and was wearing dark coloured trousers and jumper with a khaki coloured jacket with a furry hood.
"The second was of skinny build, 5ft 5in tall, aged 17 to 18, with blond hair and wearing black trousers and a black puffer jacket with the hood up.
"The third suspect is aged 18 to early 20s, of medium build, around 5ft 7in tall and was wearing a dark hooded top and dark jogging bottoms".