altWe’d just been thinking how it’s been a while since we’ve reported about a bingo burglary (which makes a refreshing change), until we were alerted to a recent, terrifying raid on a Mecca Bingo hall in Bolton, Lancashire whilst an evening session was in-play. Players of all ages were left petrified as two masked men burst into their local club in Breightmet, Bolton, wielding a handgun and a knife, as they were enjoying an early evening session of gaming in October 2012.

Many of the members who were present included senior citizens who were left glued to their seats in terror as the robbers approached members of staff, threatening to harm them if they did not hand over the cash.

The men shortly walked out carrying a considerable sum of money, leaving employees and customers unharmed, but in considerable shock.

Chris Walker, a local Detective Inspector, commented that despite the large amount of people present in the club at the time of the raid, “thankfully no-one was hurt.” Bolton CID is now looking for anyone who may have been outside, or near to the vicinity of the Mecca Bingo club at the time of the robbery. Mr. Walker went on to appeal to the public to help trace the suspected getaway car – a black Ford Mondeo ST saloon, with an 03 number-plate – and either report it to the CID, or anonymously via the Crimestoppers telephone helpline.

Back in August 2012, we brought you a similar story about two burglars who tried to gain unlawful entry to a Mecca club in Hunslet, Leeds. Thankfully, on that occasion, not only did the pair fail in their attempt, having triggered the security alarm, but were also stopped in their tracks by a police dog with a craving for burglar bites.

Thankfully, it’s not very often that you hear about instances such as the one that occurred at the Breightmet branch recently, which are brazenly carried out during club opening hours. However, it does raise the issue of safety for both staff and visitors to local bingo clubs, and whether enough is being done to ensure that situations like these do not re-occur.

Do you think that visitors to all clubs should be ‘frisked’ for dangerous weapons and chemicals before being allowed entry? Perhaps you think that burly bodyguards and bouncers should be present on the main doors and fire exits at all times? Let us know what you think...