THREE raids by knifemen in Devizes are giving the usually quiet market town a Wild West image, say locals.

In the latest act of violence the Esso Garage at The Nursery was attacked on Thursday night.

Two men have now been charged with attempted robbery and possession of a knife in a public place after the cashier was held up just before 9.30pm.

Samuel Sneyd, 34, of Waiblingen Way, Devizes, and Adam Ferrell, 32, of Rawlingswell Lane, Marlborough have been remanded in custody.

This raid came just a week after a man, who was believed to have a knife concealed in a plastic bag, threatened the manager of Megabet bookmakers in The Brittox.

Two men were arrested but released under investigation. This week new CCTV pictures supplied by Noel Woolrych, manager of the town’s CCTV, were released. Mr Woolrych said he tracked a man on a bike from St John’s Street into the Little Brittox where he turned into the alley which runs next to The Shambles.

He said: “There is very clear footage of him. He waits at the top of The Shambles until no-one is about and then cycles down to the betting shop.

“I am now going back through all the footage on Thursday to see if I can find him before he covers his face.”

At the end of June an elderly woman was held at knifepoint in her own home at the Sedgefield Gardens almshouse complex in Devizes. As yet no arrests have been made.

Mr Woolrych said there have been a series of other violent incidents in Devizes in the past few weeks including an attack on a man in Sidmouth Street on Saturday and an attack on a taxi driver a week earlier.

He said: “The amount of violent crime in recent weeks has been on the increase. It is unusual for Devizes.”

People living in Waiblingen Way are also concerned that no charges have been brought after a woman died in an arson attack on flats just before Christmas. One tenant said: “Devizes is becoming like the Wild West.”

Wiltshire Police have tried to reassure the public. Insp Chris Martin said: “We completely understand this latest incident will have caused a lot of concern amongst the local community, especially given recent incidents such as the armed robbery last week at the bookmakers and an incident back in June in Sedgefield Gardens.

“It is important to stress that while these incidents have happened within a short time frame, serious crime of this nature remains extremely rare in the town and Devizes is a safe place to live.

“I hope residents will feel reassured that four people have been arrested in relation to the latest two incidents which we must stress we do not believe are linked, and officers from CID are working really hard to conduct their enquiries in a timely manner.

“We will ensure local neighbourhood officers are continuing high visibility patrols around the town to provide extra reassurance and if you do have any concerns please do not hesitate in approaching them.”