STAFF at the Brackley Antiques Cellar have been offered free lessons on how to deal with threatening situations by a top security firm after they were left shaken by a botched training exercise.
On Monday, July 16, eight men entered the cellar wearing suits, with walkie talkies and earpieces. They moved around the cellar in what is described as a suspicious manner, hiding in corners and communicating via their headsets.
Staff, antique dealers and customers were left bemused and scared.
Cellar manager Debbe Perry said staff were particularly tense as they have been victims of robberies and in the past they have been warned of men dressed in suits, targeting antique stores and carrying out armed robberies.
Mrs Perry said one of her staff members eventually approached the men and added: “They said they were on a training exercise, but one of these guys came up behind her, she was so frightened, she thought they were going to pull out a gun.
“It scared the living daylights out of everyone.”
The men left after 20 minutes and staff called police. At first there was some confusion, but eventually Brackley Police were told that Longmoor Security based in Banbury, a subsidiary of the Westminster Group, had informed the force they would be in the area on a training exercise.
Retired Major Keith Wright, Longmoor’s chief operating officer, said in a statement students were briefed to introduce themselves, where possible, but omitted to do so.
He added: “I have emailed the shop proprietor Mr (Jim) Broomfield a full explanation of the circumstances with an apology for the omission of procedures and the offer of free conflict management and conflict resolution training to his staff, which would assist them in the future to identify threatening situations and provide them with the confidence to deal with them. We have assured Mr Broomfield that no malice was intended nor implied.”
The majority of Longmoor students are ex-servicemen who are looking to pursue a second career in the security industry protecting people, property and assets worldwide.