Hawks send strong message to robbers

The Hawks shot and killed 7 robbers and injured 9 others in a botched robbery on Saturday night.

Scene of the botched robbery in the badly lit industrial area Robertville on 24 November 2012. Picture: Theo Nkonki/EWN

ROBERTVILLE - Gauteng police said a botched cash heist in which seven robbers were shot dead on Saturday night will send a strong message to other criminals ahead of the festive season.

Nine other alleged gang members were wounded while apparently trying to break into a Protea Coin depot in Robertville, west of Johannesburg.

The scene of the bloody shootout was littered with bullet cases of different sizes.

The body of one of the criminals lay on the tar road as rain poured down in the industrial area just outside of Florida.

The Hawks Paul Ramaloko said, "They were already inside the depot and fired several shots at us after which we retaliated."

Just a few metres from the gate, the wreckage of a Toyota Quantum stood against a tree with the bodies of three more men in it.

The Hawks said they acted on a tip-off and prevented the gunmen from taking anything from the depot.

Dozens of police cars were parked on the street leading to the depot.

Police said the group of men tried to rob three other businesses in the area before they hit the depot.