Armed robbers target another post office

By Ted JeoryA SHOPKEEPER who was held up by masked men armed with an axe and a gun has said the ordeal had confirmed his decision to retire.Graham Baxter, owner of Lexden Heath post office in Stanway, said the raid on Thursday evening had left him “very sad” about the state of society.

By Ted Jeory

A SHOPKEEPER who was held up by masked men armed with an axe and a gun has said the ordeal had confirmed his decision to retire.

Graham Baxter, owner of Lexden Heath post office in Stanway, said the raid on Thursday evening had left him “very sad” about the state of society.

Mr Baxter was getting out of his car when three balaclava-clad men wielding an axe and what looked like a gun walked towards his shop in London Road at 5pm.

One grabbed hold of him while his two accomplices tried to break into the post office counter, where two women cashiers were cowering after diving to the floor in terror.

“The women had managed to sound the alarms and with all the shouting it was all very noisy,” said Mr Baxter.

Most Read

“The would-be robbers were screaming at them to stand up and open the safe, but there was no response.

“It was just a matter of time before the police were going to arrive, so I think they just thought they weren't going to succeed and fled.

“It all happened so quickly, but it was terrifying for everyone - I wouldn't want to go through it again.”

Mr Baxter said he had owned the store since 1976 and it had been the first time anything like that had happened there.

“I'm due to retire at the end of March and if there were any doubts about that decision, there aren't now,” he added.

“The postmistress, who was one of the ladies who dived to the floor, is also retiring then and I think she'll have the same opinion.

“It's all very sad. It seems that robbing post offices is a more common occurrence these days - maybe they think we're easier pickings than banks.”

The raiders fled empty-handed in a dark Ford Fiesta, which had been stolen from an address in Colchester and was later found abandoned in Stanway.

Fears over post office security in Essex have been growing - two weeks ago three post offices in Kirby-le-Soken, Wormingford and Stock were held up on the same day by what police believe was the same gang.

Detective Sergeant Mark Kerry, of Essex Police, said: “This was a terrifying incident for the staff who are deeply traumatised.”

A Post Office spokesman added: “We constantly work with sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses on security and in this latest case the measures in place were successful because the raiders left empty-handed.”

Anyone with information should contact Colchester police on 01206 762212.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter