GALLERY: Spate of gunpoint robberies

A FRESH batch of handguns appears to have made its way into the hands of some of the Hunter’s violent criminals, with detectives investigating three hold-ups in five days in which the weapon of choice has been a firearm.
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Once a rarity among robbers, illegal handguns are now being used by relatively amateur thieves and cowards who are taking on a range of soft targets and getting away with only a few hundred dollars at a time.

Senior police have warned they face long jail terms if convicted, with the courts taking a dim view of bandits who force their victims to look down the barrel of a gun.

The latest attack was on a quiet suburban service station on Monday night.

A console operator working at a West Wallsend outlet was confronted by a masked gunman.

The man, who was wearing a balaclava, entered the Withers Street business about 9.30pm with the gun tucked into his pants.

He demanded cash from the console operator before escaping.

The man is described as being of average build, about 177 centimetres tall and wearing a dark blue hooded jumper, black pants and the black balaclava.

Five days earlier, a lone bandit, his face covered with his jacket and cap, used a handgun during an early morning stick-up at a Hawks Nest newsagency.

Port Stephens detectives are confident of a result after the probable getaway car was discovered in bush near Karuah.

Police believe the car was hidden, rather than torched, so the thieves could use it in another raid or possibly to make a quick escape.

On Sunday, a would-be thief got more than he bargained for when he threatened a female employee of an adult shop at Thornton.

LATEST ATTACK: Security footage of the Hawks Nest gunman.

The thief, believed to be aged between 17 and 20, pulled a handgun from his pants and told the worker to give him cash. Instead of complying with the threats, the female employee stood her ground and the gunman left without a cent.

LATEST ATTACK: Security footage of the Hawks Nest gunman.

LATEST ATTACK: Security footage of the Hawks Nest gunman.

LATEST ATTACK: Security footage of the Hawks Nest gunman.


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