Sunderland garage worker suspended just hours after robbery

The scene at the Barnes service station on Friday
The scene at the Barnes service station on Friday

A petrol station worker was suspended from work just hours after a terrifying robbery ordeal.

Matti Stoker was on duty at the Esso station at the Barnes roundabout in the early hours of Friday morning when a man armed with what police describe as ‘a stun gun type weapon’ made off with cash and cigarettes.

He is described as being around 5ft 7ins tall, wearing all dark clothing and a balaclava and spoke with a local accent.

Mr Stoker’s employer, Blackburn-based Euro Garages, confirmed he had been suspended from duty: “As well as carrying out an internal investigation, Euro Garages are actively working with Northumbria Police to investigate a serious criminal incident last week at Barnes Service Station, Durham Road, Sunderland,” said a company statement.

“This was obviously very frightening for those on-site at the time but thankfully no-one was injured and we are confident the perpetrators will be apprehended.

“The welfare, safety and security of all our colleagues, suppliers and customers is of paramount importance to us.

“Given the incident particulars, a staff member has been suspended from his duties until further notice. At this stage, we can not provide any further details as this may compromise the on-going criminal investigation.”

Mr Stoker, from Town End Farm, says he was left deeply shaken by the ordeal: “He was screaming at me to do what he said.

“He told me to wait five minutes before ringing the police or he would be back for me.

“The whole thing is horrible - I am still trying to wrap my head around it.

“I am still shaken now. I am pretty anxious about leaving the house.”

But he says he has received no assistance after his ordeal from the firm: “I got home about 7am - I had been offered no help, no support,” he said.

“I quite enjoyed the job, but I have been flung under the bus, it feels like,” he said.

“I have not heard from anyone in the company. The whole way they have gone about it is shocking.

“I have had the help of my family and girlfriend, but you would expect your employer to have your back when you are doing a job for them.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman confirmed inquiries were continuing.

Detectives are keen to speak to the driver of a metallic/silver Peugeot 206cc that was parked on the forecourt at the time of the incident and who left without buying anything.

A man also came into the store around 20 minutes before the attack and left without buying anything.

Officers are appealing for the driver of the Peugeot and the man to come forward and contact them.