A Bedfordshire pharmacist has told of how she defended herself and her pharmacy against two hammer-wielding robbers who terrified staff and stole the till.

Bedfordshire police are appealing for witnesses after two balaclava-clad robbers entered Houghton Regis pharmacy in Dunstable, Bedfordshire on 26 April armed with what is believed to be a hammer, destroyed property and ran away with the till and the cash inside it.

The incident took place at approximately 7.52pm, according to Bedfordshire Police.

‘I tried to tackle them’

The pharmacy three staff on premises at the time were preparing to lock-up the pharmacy at 8pm when two young men appeared announcing ‘this is a robbery’, according to pharmacist Bina Beant.

Ms Beant, who was at the counter at the time, told The Pharmacist: ‘Me being me, I tried to tackle them’. She added: ‘I nearly did grab the hammer, because at that time you’re reacting.’

One man pulled what is believed to be a stainless steel hammer out of his jogging bottoms, Ms Beant explained. She said he smashed the counter with the implement and destroyed the GP service iPad that had been installed that afternoon. ‘It’s totally and utterly smashed, we hadn’t even had it for twelve hours,’ she said.

‘There was glass everywhere’

Two dispensers were also working at the time in the dispensary and one screamed, according to Ms Beant. As Ms Beant jumped forward to stop the man with the implement, the second man lunged forward, pushing everything off the counter, grabbed the pharmacy's till and ran out, she recalls.

She said: ‘There was glass everywhere, there were [lollipops] Chupa Chups [everywhere], they broke the whole [counter], it just shattered.’

Two patients in the pharmacy car park watched as the pharmacist chased the fleeing robbers, Ms Beant recalls. She said the patients warned her to let them go. ‘Staff safety comes first’, she added.

She said the whole incident lasted less than a minute, during which time the two men were ‘really aggressive’. Ms Beant said the pharmacy had received support from the community but added that she was worried about the staff. She said: ‘I think everyone is shaken, it is very traumatic,' she said.

Extra safety measures

The pharmacy employees are now locking the doors at 6.30pm and pulling down the metal shutter, and using the night hatch to continue to provide a prescription service for the community.

Ms Beant added: ‘I think everyone is not knowing what to do. How do we deal with it?’

Both offenders are described as being in their late 20s, white, wearing balaclavas and approximately 5’7” tall, according to Bedfordshire Police.

One is described as wearing a grey hooded top with the hood up and dark coloured trousers, while the other robber is described as wearing a dark coloured hooded top with the hood up.

Detective Constable Daniel Matcham, investigating the robbery, said: ‘This was an upsetting incident which left the victims shaken up. We are urging witnesses to come forward with information about this brazen robbery.'

Bedfordshire Police have asked anyone with information to visit the online reporting centre or call 101 quoting crime reference number JD/19112/18 or to contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.