Police helicopter and armed officers in Telford after robbery at Spar
Armed police surrounded a Telford shopping centre after a robbery on Tuesday morning.
The drama began at about 8am when two armed men entered the Spar store at the Leegomery Centre and threatened staff.
The incident sparked a large response from police, with armed officers, dogs and a helicopter all dispatched as the centre, off Pool Farm Avenue, was evacuated and cordoned off.
Three male suspects were later arrested on suspicion of armed robbery.
A Spar UK spokeswoman said: "We can confirm an incident took place at our Leegomery store this morning.
"We are supporting the team members who were in the store at the time and helping police with their ongoing investigation.”
Nobody was injured in the robbery.
Superintendent James Dunn from West Mercia Police, said: “There is currently an increased police presence in and around the Leegomery area as we deal with this incident. Incidents of this nature are extremely rare and we understand the level of concern they can cause within our local communities. We would like to offer reassurance that we are doing everything we can to locate the suspects.
“Extra patrols will be carried out by our safer neighbourhood officers and I would encourage anyone who is concerned to speak to a local officer.”
People have been urged to keep away from the centre while officers remain at the scene.
Families walking to two nearby primary schools reported seeing armed police and other officers with sniffer dogs, searching the warren of footpaths and woodland in the area while a police helicopter hovered above Leegomery, apparently also involved in the search for suspects.
The area is close to both Millbrook and Apley Wood Primary Schools, with parents reassured that the large police presence was not connected to the schools.
A spokesperson for Millbrook Primary School said in the morning that they were keeping all the children indoors and said the school site was secure.
Apley Wood school staff messaged parents mid-morning to say it had been told the children could now go outside to play.
One parent, who did not want to the named, said it had been frightening, walking her children to school with armed police on the streets.
"It wasn't nice for the children to see," she said.
"Another said she had taken the dog out for a walk first thing in the morning to be met by police with sniffer dogs on the footpaths.
"I asked if it was safe to walk the dog and they said carry on," she said.
Leegomery Centre is home to the Spar convenience store, Greggs, a hairdresser and a chemist.
Hair Junction posted on Facebook to say: "Due to an incident at the Leegomery Spar, we are unable to open the salon at this current time. It is a serious incident we can not access the salons diary, or contact you individually."
Drivers trying to access the centre were turned away by police officers and told if they had appointments they should contact the businesses direct.
Staff could be seen outside the centre waiting to be given the go-ahead to return to work.
One said that volunteers at the community centre had been offering hot drinks and looking after them.
The manager of the Spar said he was unable to comment.
Anyone with information s asked to call 101 quoting incident 61i of 12 October.