‘I didn’t want to die, I just gave them the money’: Company manager warns Croydon businesses of attackers on the loose

A manager of a car parts company in Croydon has warned businesses in the area of attackers on the loose after he was robbed by a group of men last week.

Philip Goater, 60, assistant manager at GSF Car Parts Croydon, was accosted by three attackers as he closed the offices at Coomber Way Industrial Estate at around 6pm on Thursday.

Mr Goater said: “I locked up the premises, set the alarm, locked the door and everything.

“These men asked me to reopen the building again, shouting and screaming ‘where’s the money?’ and I ended up being pushed through to the safe room. 

“I opened the door to the safe and they kept shouting ‘where’s the money?’”

The men pushed Mr Goater up against the walls and then down on to the floor, he said.

The suspects are not reported to have used any weapons but they are alleged to have threatened the use of violence, the Met reported.

Mr Goater said: “We empty the safe daily anyway and I think they thought there was a lot more in there. 

“I didn’t want to die. I just gave them the money and whatever else they wanted. It was all over in 10 minutes. They were out, and they were gone.” 

The company is now warning other businesses in the area to be wary of the attackers who are still on the loose. Pictured, Philip Goater (Picture: GSF Car Parts Croydon)

After the men stole the cash, they escaped in a dark, grey Kia Sportage car, police said.

Detective Sergeant Paul Shakespeare, of the South Area Borough Command Unit, said: “We are aware this will have been very distressing for the man involved and members of the local community will of course be concerned to hear about this incident.

“We would like to reassure the public that we are taking this matter extremely seriously, we are investigating and enquiries are ongoing. No arrests have been made yet.

“Anyone who has any information is encouraged to call police on 101 quoting CAD 5673/29Feb. If you would prefer to stay anonymous you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Shaun Kelly, Operations Director for GSF Car Parts, said: “We’re extremely disappointed this incident has occurred and it is now our priority to provide support to our teams and surrounding businesses to ensure this kind of action doesn’t happen again.

“We’ve taken further precautions to protect the team at our branches by removing all cash from our sites overnight, increasing secure cash collections with third-party providers, and installing new CCTV and panic alarms across our sites.

“We’re incredibly relieved that none of our GSF team members or customers were harmed in the incident at Croydon, and are pleased to report that the branch was back open for business as usual the morning after the event.”

Pictured top: Philip Goater assistant manager at GSF Car Parts Croydon (Picture: GSF Car Parts Croydon)

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