Hornchurch pub manager pepper-sprayed by robbery gang

The manager of a Hornchurch pub was pepper-sprayed during a terrifying ordeal at the hands of robbers wearing ski masks and wielding a hammer.

The 30-year-old victim was in the office of the JJ Moon’s Wetherspoon, in High Street, when two robbers struck after closing time, at around 1.05am yesterday (Sunday September 30).

The men had gained entry after a grabbing an 18-year-old female member of staff from behind as she opened the back door of the pub.

The manager handed over �1,000 in cash to one of intruders but was attacked with the spray - which causes temporary blindness - when he could not fulfil demands for more money.

A Wetherspoon spokesman said: “This was a horrifying incident and our thoughts are with our members of staff who were subjected to violence.

“We will work closely with the police with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

The manager was taken to hospital but his condition is not currently known.

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Police are investigating CCTV of the incident and anyone with information should ring Romford CID on: 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on: 0800 555 111.

The pub was open on Sunday as normal.

Pepper spray is illegal but is used by police as a non-lethal method of subduing offenders.