Club heist foiled by patrons

A BOWRAVILLE man caught by patrons after he and an accomplice allegedly held-up the town's Ex-Services Club will spend Christmas behind bars.

Ken Close, 23, of Bowraville, was refused bail until February 23 when he appeared in the Port Macquarie Local Court yesterday charged with assault while armed with intent to commit armed robbery in company.

Police allege Close and an accomplice, who is still at large, entered the Bowraville and District Ex-Services Club armed with a pair of scissors and a plank of wood on Saturday about 11pm.

They are alleged to have threatened staff and patrons and attempted to steal alcohol and cash from behind the bar.

Police allege a club manager was also assaulted, before patrons reacted.

A patron approached the offenders holding a chair, one of the offenders managed to run from the scene, but Close was allegedly detained by club patrons. Police were called and he was arrested and taken to Kempsey Police Station where he was charged.

Detectives were yesterday moving on the second man involved.

Sunday, November 12

AN attempted hold-up of the Bowraville and District Ex-Services Club on Saturday night was foiled by the club's patrons after a savage attack on club staff.

The club's manager is in Coffs Harbour Base Hospital after being transferred from Macksville Hospital yesterday and is understood to have a broken cheekbone and damaged eye socket.

It is understood a woman at the Bowraville fire station next door telephoned the club's manager just before 11pm on Saturday to tell him people outside the club were acting suspiciously.

While he was still on the phone two men entered the club wearing balaclavas and carrying baseball bats.

The club member said the manager and two directors, one a woman, were "king hit" by the intruders before three patrons took action, tackling them on the front steps, with at least one of the patrons receiving a facial injury.

The other intruder escaped the angry patrons and ran away from the club.

The club member said there were about 10 people in the small country club at the time in addition to the directors and manager.

No money was stolen as the takings for the night had been put away.

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