SHOCKED Trevor Backhouse was threatened at gunpoint after masked raiders stormed into a Castleford cash and carry in a terrifying armed robbery.
The 64-year-old manager was pistol-whipped and a female member of staff punched in the face after crazed thugs in balaclavas – brandishing a gun and claw hammer – demanded cash at R&A Stores on Methley Road last Friday.
Mr Backhouse, who has worked in the retail industry for 50 years, said: “It was terrifying. So many things were going through my mind – anything could have happened.”
The manager said he was in his office with two female members of staff preparing to lock up when a dark blue car pulled up outside at around 5pm. Two men got out – one carrying a gun and the other a hammer – and stormed into the wholesalers demanding cash from the safe.
Mr Backhouse said: “I told them we didn’t have a safe, but one said ‘I know you do, we’ve been watching you for three days’.
“He pointed the gun at me and I told him I didn’t think the gun was real – but the man with the hammer said ‘If you don’t think that’s real, this hammer is real’ and banged it on the desk.
“He told me if I didn’t give him the money he’d hit me over the head and I’d never see my children again. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
In the drama, Mr Backhouse was hit in the back of the head with the butt of the gun and fell backwards – smashing into a radiator.
He said: “I was out for a couple of seconds, I was really disorientated. I could see the men searching the office for cash and one grabbed my briefcase.
“As this was happening, the two girls in the office were cowering under the desk. The man with the hammer was tormenting them and punched one of them in the face. It was awful. I hope they catch who did this.”
The thieves fled with Mr Backhouse’s briefcase, which contained a “substantial” amount of cash, his car keys and a BlackBerry mobile phone. The suspects’ car left in the direction of Three Lane Ends. The West Yorkshire Police helicopter was scrambled after a passing member of the public saw what was happening and called for help.
A police spokesman said officers were investigating the incident and inquiries were ongoing.
Witnesses or anyone with information should contact police on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.