Northern Ireland

Foiled Belfast off-licence robbery featured on Youtube

The owner of a Belfast off-licence has revealed how a persistent thief came back four times to rob his store.

Tony McGurran was speaking after Eamon Brown, 29, of Coolpark Avenue, Belfast, was jailed for six years at Belfast Crown Court.

Brown attempted four robberies at the Vineyard on the Ormeau Road before he was captured by two staff members and finally brought to trial.

His foiled robbery has been viewed by hundreds of people on YouTube.

Mr McGurran told BBC's Talkback programme: "The first time he came in, he ordered a bottle of whiskey, lifted it, threatened a member of our staff, explained he would remember him, he knew where he lived, and if there was any trouble, he would be after him.

"He was quite a large chap."

'Quite terrified'

Mr McGurran said the same man came back two weeks later.

"He demanded cash off the same guy who was quite terrified and he handed it over," he said.

"The guys behind the counter reckoned he would keep coming back, it was all too easy for him."

Mr McGurran said he told staff in the event of another robbery, they should step away from the counter, keep themselves out of the way and "be safe".

"On another occasion, he came in, he jumped onto the counter when he was told he was not getting what he was demanding. One of my staff got him by the lower legs, got him to the ground."

After a scuffle, Mr McGurran said, his employee had the man in a full-nelson and he held him, with the help of a customer, until police arrived and took him into custody.

"We spent a lot of time going back and forth to court. I almost had to close the shop to get all of our staff down there because they were all called for court," he said.

"Although we were doing all the correct things, getting him to the police and having all the CCTV and security systems and panic buttons and everything else, he seemed to just feel there was no consequence to his action."

Mr McGurran said the two staff members, Matt and Joe, were each presented with a special bottle of whiskey labelled 'Vineyard Heroes'.