Mar 14 2012 by Gordon Robertson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Traders voice concerns after latest armed robbery in Coatdyke.
TRADERS have voiced concerns after the popular owner of a Coatdyke shop was robbed and slashed by a blade-wielding thug.
Gordon Greene had his right hand cut as the crook armed with a Stanley knife held up Crescent Newsagent and stole the takings.
The incident in the Main Street outlet earlier this month shocked other retailers in the area, many of whom now admitted feeling “vulnerable”.
At least four businesses in Coatdyke have been targeted in similar raids to the one that saw Mr Greene needing stitches in a nasty wound to his hand.
All of the traders know that it could easily have been any of them.
Larraine McDowall has owned a hairdressing salon in Main Street for eight years and like many she believes that drugs are at the root of the series of robberies
She said: “I have never had any bother.
“But when you hear about what happened to Gordon you feel a wee bit more vulnerable and more aware.
“Basically, I think they are after money for their drug habit.
“It could have been any of us here.
“This is just a recent thing over the last two or three years.
“You wonder ‘who’s next?’ or is there going to be a next time?
“I don’t know what you could do to stop it. I think it is more of a problem with society.
“In the winter nights if I am on my own I’ll lock the door. That’s something I would never have done before. I’m just a wee bit more cautious.
“But you can’t let it worry you too much or you would be a nervous wreck. You can’t let them win.”
Jacqueline McBride who has worked at Diamond Laundry for 13 years, agreed with Larraine’s assessment.
“You get frightened when you hear about what has happened.
“I think it is because they are desperate for money for drugs.
“You get some people coming in trying to sell you perfume and I tell them I’m not interested.
“At one time you never heard of anything like this then you hear of the florist being robbed and then Gordon. That could have been us or Larraine’s salon or the shops further up.
“It’s quite scary that you can’t come to your work without idiots roaming about.”
Gordon Greene’s business partner John Jamieson believes there are “too many undesirables hanging around”.
He said CCTV cameras could be better located and would like to see a greater police presence.
“There are cameras but they don’t seem to be a deterrent,” he told the Advertiser.
“There’s a CCTV camera that at the moment can see what is going on but when the trees are in bloom is absolutely hopeless and can’t see a thing.
“You see too many police in cars and they drive by in an instant.
“You try not to think about what could happen when you open up early or lock up at night when it’s quiet.
“But what happened to Gordon was on a Saturday afternoon when it was busy so you don’t know what to think.”
Main Street general store Jamil & Sons have had trouble with shoplifters but manager Abid Farooq agrees that any of the Coatdyke outlets could be targeted.
“We haven’t had anything like that in here but it makes you worried when you hear of robberies at other shops,” he said.
“The robberies seem to be carried out by people on drugs who don’t have any money.
“It seems to be a wee bit worse than it was a few years ago
“More police could help as it is good when they come round and ask if everything is OK.”
Agnes Bell of the florist shop of the same name around the corner in East Muiryhall Street was held up in 2010.
How did she cope after her ordeal?
“I just get on with my work. I don’t think about things like that or you would never do anything.
“If there was a bigger police presence it would make a difference.”
The proprietor of Scissors salon, also in East Muiryhall Street, echoed many of the views expressed.
“Nothing like that has happened to me but I have felt vulnerable at times,” said the salon boss who asked for her name to be withheld.
“Drug users are the main problem.
“Police drive by a lot but maybe more foot patrols would be better, seeing them walk up and down.
“It would make people think twice about doing something like that although they are desperate and some of them will do anything to get money.”
Monklands’ top cop urged Coatdyke shop owners to contact him if they have any concerns about their personal safety.
Chief Inspector Kenny Swan said: “Officers are encouraged to patrol in areas where there are issues like this.
“And we encourage them to visit shopkeepers; but if any of the traders in Coatdyke have any concerns they are welcome to contact me to discuss them.”