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Blackburn businessman offers £250k reward to catch armed raiders
A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE is offering a £250,000 reward to help catch armed robbers who raided his luxury home.
Jason Cropper, the founder of Blackburn e-cigarette company Totally Wicked, said he was prepared to hand over the cash for information that led to the conviction of the gang.
And the 48-year-old, who lives in Samlesbury, said the amount would increase by £5,000 per week for each of the men until they were caught.
He has also hired a private investigator.
He said: “To me, the money is irrelevant. It is nice to have, but is not particularly important.
“What is important is that the people are caught.”
Mr Cropper, who lives alone, was tied up when the masked raiders, armed with crowbars, burst into his £750,000 home in August last year as he let his cat out.
He suffered head injuries and could not walk properly for a week after being hit and dragged along the ground.
He said he believed the group thought he had £4million of gold in his house, which he had recently bought.
After dousing him with bleach and covering his head with a towel, the attackers made off with Mr Cropper’s Range Rover, which was worth £60,000 and contained two gold bars worth around £50,000, plus three watches and £70,000 in cash from his home.
The car was later found burnt out.
The businessman said although the reward was higher than the value of the items taken, he was more concerned about catching those responsible.
He said: “I am hoping the reward will just give us one piece of factual evidence.
“Maybe somebody has bought one of the watches or been offered one of the gold bars. I need this strong bit of evidence.”
He added that he believed the gang, which was made up of four people, had at least two accomplices and that he was willing to offer £25,000 for information that led to each of their arrests.
That figure will also increase by £2,500 each week until their conviction.
Mr Cropper said he believed that one of the attackers had a Liverpool accent and that other gang members could be from Accrington and Blackburn.
He added he thought the robbers were known to him because of how well they knew his house.
A police investigation was launched, but Mr Cropper has now hired a private investigator to look into the incident.
Since the attack, on August 1 last year, he has spent around £20,000 on advanced security, including 10 cameras, lights, 8ft fencing, a monitored alarm system and a guard dog.
Mr Cropper said he had felt scared and paranoid to be in his home since the robbery.
He said: “It is a personal thing. I am not going to be a victim and I am not going to allow anybody to walk all over me.
“I do not care if I have to sell the house. These people will be found.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said officers had been made aware of the reward.
He said: “An investigation is ongoing and police are obviously treating the robbery very seriously.
“We are doing everything we can to try and trace the offenders.
“I would appeal for any witnesses to come forward.”
Anybody with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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