Foiled robbery
Bandits flashed green card with 'police' written on it
-estate guard recalls By Oscar P. Clarke
Stabroek News
April 12, 2002

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A day after his encounter with four armed men, the gatekeeper at the East Demerara Estate entrance is thanking his lucky stars that he was not attacked by the men who sparked mayhem during a botched robbery attempt in Campbellville.

Speaking with Stabroek News yesterday, the watchman, who was on duty at the barrier aback of Lusignan, East Coast Demerara (ECD) -- through which the fleeing bandits escaped into the ECD canefields on Wednesday -- said he was in the shed provided with another man when they noticed the speeding vehicle approaching.

According to the visibly shaken man, initially, he thought the vehicle was heading to the nearby Lusignan Golf Course, but it passed that entrance, drove up to the locked barrier and stopped. He approached the vehicle, as is customary, to determine its destination. He said he noticed that the driver was dressed in a blue shirt-jac and that one of the three passengers wore a cap, which was pulled down, shading his face. He said that when he got to the vehicle, the driver exclaimed loudly that they were policemen and were investigating reports of five armed bandits being sighted in the backlands.

According to the guard, he requested to see their identification at the same time peering into the vehicle, where he saw a gun on the driver's lap. He said the driver produced a green card, with the inscription 'police' and he waved them through the barrier.

As they sped off up the dusty roadway, he said, he silently questioned their intentions since the vehicle appeared new and was being driven in a reckless manner.

It was later, while listening to the radio, that he heard of vehicles being hijacked and licence plate numbers being read. He decided to check his log and saw that one of the numbers mentioned matched the vehicle that he had let through at around 8 am. The bandits had struck in Campbellville at around 7.30 am.

Field workers in the backlands at the time stated that the vehicle, which rapidly proceeded along the stretch of road kicking up dust in its wake, was in several near misses with a truck and pedestrians along the way.

According to reports the vehicle was found parked and locked some five miles behind the canefields at an area in close proximity to the East Demerara Water Conservancy.

Some workers in the field at the time said that they had heard sporadic gunfire after police had gone into the area but were unable to state exactly where these shots were coming from.

According to the guard, after the police received information that the men had gone into the backlands, they arrived in numbers and stretched out covering both ends of the estate to attempt to corner the escapees.

Workers said that members of the law enforcement agency had not returned to the area after their previous day's activities and there had been no further sighting of the escapees.

Meanwhile, reports indicated a heightening of police activity in the mining town of Linden yesterday with members of the Tactical Services Unit (TSU) seen patrolling sections of the town centre.