A MASKED man staged a knifepoint robbery at a shop in Harwich this morning.

Police were called to Greggs in Harwich Gateway Retail Park at around 5am this morning, May 9.

Three members of staff were threatened with a knife by a man wearing a balaclava who then stole more than £400.

Within half an hour, officers had identified a suspect and made an arrest. 

A 44-year-old man remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of robbery.

Bill Davidson, chairman of Ramsey and Parkeston Parish Council said it was ‘disgusting’ that such a crime could happen in the area.

He said: “ I think its absolutely disgusting something like that could happen around here, it is simply unacceptable and I hope the staff are OK."

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston commended his officers for their swift action in arresting a suspect.

He added: “This was some extremely quick work from our officers, who worked efficiently to carry out multiple inquiries, including reviewing CCTV in order to make this arrest.

“I’d like to thank the victims for their co-operation today despite being extremely shaken up.

“If anyone was in the area and may have witnessed anything which could assist with this investigation, please get in contact with us.”

Mr Davidson was especially surprised by the crime considering the uptick in policing in the area and recent reports showing crime was on the decline in the area.

He said: “It’s a bit of a shock really, we’ve got CCTV there so that could be an answer in solving this.

“In terms of general crime we’ve had some vandalism at Jubilee Park where we recently planted trees which have been uprooted which was upsetting but nothing like this.”

Essex Police have launched an appeal for more information on the incident and reports can be made on the police website or through its live chat service.

Alternatively witnesses can call 101 but always call 999 in an emergency or contact Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or online.

Please quote incident 105 of May 9 when providing information.