ARMED raiders have targeted the office of Scottish firm Menzies at Heathrow Airport, firing shots at one worker, handcuffing 15 staff and escaping with £1.75m in cash.
During the robbery at the Menzies World Cargo shed, one worker who tried to run away was fired at twice with a handgun before being captured uninjured. Three staff suffered minor injuries as they were restrained and another was said to have been pistol-whipped.
Last night, Scotland Yard revealed that five men had been arrested in connection with the incident, which happened shortly before midnight on Friday. Detectives said they were hunting another three men. None of the money has so far been recovered.
Menzies World Cargo is a division of the Menzies group, which was set up in Edinburgh over 170 years ago and still has offices in that city and in Glasgow.
Police said that during the raid employees were tied up with plastic handcuffs and one of the victims attempted to run from the premises. The employee was fired at as he tried to escape but was not injured.
One of the robbers chased after him and as they struggled, a firearm was fired again. The victim was overpowered and brought back into the warehouse.
Scotland Yard said the gang escaped by hijacking a van at gun-point and stealing a car.
The van was a white Vauxhall Vivaro while the car was a gold Ford Focus.
Five men were arrested yesterday in London and the Home Counties in connection with the incident and were being held in custody.
Police were, however, hunting a further three suspects and warned the public not to approach them. Detective Superintendent Mick Allen, of the Flying Squad, said: "We are actively searching for a further three suspects that are outstanding.
"I am appealing for anyone who knows their identity or whereabouts to contact the Flying Squad."
Menzies World Cargo, whose headquarters are in Crawley, Sussex, is a division of the long-established business set up in Edinburgh by John Menzies in 1833. The Menzies Group previously ran newsagent shops across Scotland but relinquished the retail sector to concentrate on supply and aviation.
John Geddes, head of investor relations for the company, last night said no member of staff was seriously injured in the raid. He said: "Things are brought into the cargo warehouse after they are taken off the plane. This happened to be a consignment of money that they must have known about."
A Heathrow Airport spokesman played down fears that the raid posed a threat to security measures at the airport. He said the warehouse was in a controlled cargo area and not a restricted area but stressed that the "robbery did not compromise aviation security".