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More than 12,000 sign petition following Bluewater robberies

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition launched after a series of robberies at Bluewater.

Published by a father of one of the victims, the document on change.org, calls for shopping centre to change its code of conduct following reports of three robberies and two attempted robberies on Monday December 30.

Bluewater Shopping Centre
Bluewater Shopping Centre

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said he was "deeply saddened" by the attacks and would be raising concerns raised in the petition with the shopping centre management.

Earlier in the week the shopping centre in Greenhithe was forced to issue an apology after parents said their children were not offered care by staff in the wake of the robberies.

The new petition, launched by a "Concerned Dad" and directed to Mr Johnson, states: "On the 30th December, several of our children were robbed of their precious belongings by a group of youths with the threat of being stabbed within Bluewater.

"My own personal experience involved my son and his friend being robbed and left alone for over two hours without any assurances for their safety or welfare or indeed any communication from Bluewater.

"We were asked to wait and not move from the spot by a north Kent Police operator and were informed an officer would attend.

"The children were scared, concerned and exposed. There was no attempt after the robbery to provide the children with a place of safety before the parents arrived and there was no attempt to contact us with reassurances in the two hours that followed. We were essentially left abandoned.

MP Gareth Johnson is raising concerns with Bluewater following recent attacks
MP Gareth Johnson is raising concerns with Bluewater following recent attacks

"Our children's safety needs to put above cuts and profit with an increased visibility of security and an increased police presence.

"The code of conduct needs to be reviewed with a view to a zero tolerance policy in place at every entrance and exit.

"More importantly, Bluewater needs to completely overhaul it's duty of care to victims of crime and ensure that children are never left exposed and vulnerable in the immediate aftermath."

More than 12,300 people have already signed the petition.

Darren Smith, the father of a 15-year-old victim, had previously taken to Facebook to slam the shopping centre for their lack of compassion.

Bluewater later said the safety and security of our staff and guests was its "highest priority" and its 24-hour security team would work closely with the Kent Police team, adding: "We regularly review our security procedures, and we will review how we can improve support for our guests."

"The children were scared, concerned and exposed... there was no attempt after the robbery to provide the children with a place of safety before the parents arrived" - dad of robbery victim

Mr Johnson said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the recent incidents at Bluewater, which must have been a very frightening experience for the young victims.

"I know that Bluewater ensures security is their highest priority and therefore these sort of incidents are thankfully very rare.

"Whilst Kent Police have acted quickly and arrested two people in connection with the robberies, I am in contact with Bluewater about the incident and will be raising the specific concerns that have been highlighted in the petition.

"I have recently visited the Police Station at Bluewater and it is clear they operate in a highly professional way which ensures Bluewater is normally a very safe environment."

Bluewater has been contacted for a comment on the petition.

In a further incident at nearby Greenhithe Railway Station on Wednesday, a 16-year-old girl was robbed by three men.

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