A WIRRAL man has appeared in court accused with carrying out a series of knifepoint raids across the borough.
Karl Armstrong, aged 44, of Highfield South, Birkenhead, has been charged with three counts of robbery and three counts of possession of an offensive weapon following a number of raids at off licences in Hoylake, Heswall and Oxton.
In the raids – which all took place between 8.30pm and 9pm – a masked man entered the shops, threatened staff with a knife - described as being between five and six inches in length – before demanding cash, cigarettes and tobacco.
The 44-year-old appeared before Wirral magistrates on Thursday morning, speaking only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
Armstrong, who did not enter a plea to any of the charges, was remanded in custody to appear at Liverpool Crown Court on March 13 for a preliminary hearing.
The charges relate to three knifepoint raids in the Wirral area that took place during a two-week period in February.
The latest raid, at Bargain Booze on Birkenhead Road, happened at around 8.50pm on Sunday, February 23.
A man with his face covered threatened staff with a knife before stealing a quantity of cash and cigarettes. He left the store on foot.
Bargain Booze, on Pensby Road, was robbed at knifepoint on February 16.
The previous Sunday, February 16, another Bargain Booze store on Pensby Road was robbed at around 8.50pm.
A man, who again covered his face with a scarf and a hood, threatened two female shop workers with a knife and demanded they open the till.
He escaped through the front door and jumped into a getaway car – believed to be a Ford Fiesta – which was parked in nearby Laurelhurst Avenue. The car is said to have driven off towards Heswall.
Staff at Simply Food & Drinks, in Oxton, were held up at knifepoint on February 12.
Simply Food and Drinks on Wellington Road, Oxton, also fell victim to a similar raid on February 12 shortly after 9pm.
A masked man escaped with a small quantity of cash, tobacco and cigarettes after pulling a knife on two female shop assistants.
A 44-year-old woman from Birkenhead was also arrested in connection with the raids, as well as in connection with an attempted robbery on the Betfred store in Conway Street on February 10.
She has been released on bail pending further enquiries.