Belfast pharmacist stabbed in hand during burglary

Belfast pharmacist stabbed in hand during burglary

A pharmacist from north Belfast says he was lucky not to suffer tendon damage after he was stabbed in the hand during an aggravated burglary.

Conor McAreavey, from Teague’s Pharmacist on Antrim Road, said a man entered the shop at about 5.30pm on Saturday and used a hammer to break through a Covid protection screen.

During a scuffle, Mr McAreavey was stabbed before the attacker fled.

Without the screens, he said, the attacker “would have been straight into the heart of the dispensary” and “could have taken anything he wanted.”

“It’s been happening all over north Belfast for the last couple of weeks and it’s just unacceptable,” he said.

“We are at the frontline here, we’re all exhausted after two years of Covid and now as things open up to have this start to happen again to us is just unacceptable and very worrying for the staff.”

On Sunday, police described the attacker as being 6ft (1.8m) in height, of medium build and wore jeans, a dark coloured hooded jacket, brown framed glasses and a black facemask.

PSNI Det Sgt Dougherty said that as the man left the pharmacy he was confronted by another man and “again brandished his knife” before making off towards Hillman Street.

The officer said police would like to speak to this man to assist with their enquiries.

Mr McAreavey returned to work on Monday, saying the sector was experiencing a staffing crisis and “there’s no other option”.

Gerard Greene, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy NI, said: “This was a horrible attack on a pharmacy team going about their normal job helping people on a Saturday afternoon.

“We utterly condemn this behaviour. An attack on a local community pharmacy team impacts lots of people who rely on us.”

“We would reiterate the call by the PSNI for anyone who witnessed anything to contact them or Crimestoppers.”