POLICE were holding a public meeting today after an armed robbery and kidnap in a Hampshire town.

The head of police in the New Forest was due to address the 2pm meeting at Lymington Town Hall four days after an elderly Lymington couple were robbed of £100 in their own home by a gunman wearing swimming goggles.

Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson was to let people know the progress of the investigation, offer reassurance and continue to appeal to the public to come forward if they think they have any information about the shocking incident in which a gunman targeted a house in Rookes Lane, Woodside, and demanded money after pointing a weapon at a woman in her sixties.

Her husband, in his seventies, suffered a minor head injury after confronting the intruder.

Police say the gunman stole the couple’s car and forced the woman to accompany him as he drove around Lymington, making more demands for cash.

He drove her back to her house 15 minutes later then sped off, leaving her physically unhurt but deeply distressed.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the “terrifying”

incident last Friday.

A 48-year-old Lymington man was detained on suspicion of robbery and aggravated burglary but later released on bail, pending further inquiries.

A 44-year-old New Milton man arrested on suspicion of robbery has also been released on bail until February 2.

The Rookes Lane incident is being linked to a similar robbery at Brockenhurst railway station on December 5.

A commuter parking his car was confronted by a gunman who forced him to drive to a nearby cashpoint and withdraw what police described as a large sum of money.

Yesterday officers urged people to contact them if they suspected that a friend or relative was involved.

Chief Inspector Rowlinson said: “We are still looking for the offender and this investigation is a priority for us. We continue to follow up many lines of inquiry and remain open-minded.

“Local people are invited to come along to the public meeting if they are able to and are interested in finding out about how we are progressing with this investigation and how they can assist us.

“Family and friends may also hold the key to reasoning with this man and convincing him to hand himself in to police. It is rarely an easy decision to report someone for whom you care or love to the authorities over a crime.

However, consider the violence this man has displayed already. It must stop now, and any information you have can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”