Couple scare off ram raiders
A TERRIFIED couple leapt from their bed to confront axe-wielding ram-raiders who crashed through the wall of their post office in a stolen Land Rover.The quick-thinking duo – who have now been targeted by robbers five times in their 25 years at the business at Wickhambrook, near Bury St Edmunds – rang the police before screaming at the gang.
A TERRIFIED couple leapt from their bed to confront axe-wielding ram-raiders who crashed through the wall of their post office in a stolen Land Rover.
The quick-thinking duo - who have now been targeted by robbers five times in their 25 years at the business at Wickhambrook, near Bury St Edmunds - rang the police before screaming at the gang.
Barbara and Kerry Merritt believe it is this which prompted the would-be robbers to flee empty handed following the ram raid at 12.30am yesterday.
The couple had just gone to bed when they heard "unusual noises" outside the post office and general store they run, which neighbours their home.
After jumping from their bed, the pair checked closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) and saw men wearing balaclavas, carrying an axe and a crowbar, and the four-wheel-drive vehicle speeding in reverse towards their business.
"You get used to the noises you hear, but I heard something unusual - a different noise which was not right," said Mr Merritt. "We got up and looked on the CCTV and could see somebody outside. I knew what was going to happen as soon as I saw that person.
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"I then saw vehicle reversing lights coming towards the camera at a rapid speed. The Landrover then came through the wall and the front door.
"I lent out of the bedroom window and shouted at them. I knew I couldn't put my family at risk, but I think because we disturbed them, they decided it was time to leave.
"They abandoned the Land Rover and even left the engine running in front of the shop. They then went off in another vehicle. We were totally and absolutely scared, and putting your mind back together afterwards is hard.
"There was so much going through our heads, we were not really aware of how long it was before the police arrived. We still have not come down to earth, and there is no way to explain how I feel about these people.
"They have caused an enormous amount of damage, and there were bricks everywhere. It was a real mess."
The raid destroyed a display inside the store, littering goods with broken glass and rubble. Although the thieves left empty-handed, the incident was the fifth time the couple have been targeted by robbers in the past 25 years.
"It is five times too many," said Mrs Merritt, who thinks the men may be local to the area and have even visited the shop as customers.
"There was a fear of the unknown when we saw them - we didn't know how many men there were or what weapons they may have had.
"I wonder why these people can't get a proper, honest job, and it is awful to think we may have served them before.
"We had to call the builders in first thing to demolish the wall, as it was hanging in and very dangerous."
Sgt Andy Footer, from Suffolk police, said: "Although the offenders left empty-handed, they caused considerable damage to the front of the store, destroying the door, window and wall.
"We would like to her from anyone who has information relating to the offence. Unfortunately we have no details at this stage of the second vehicle, but believe it may have been abandoned nearby.
"We would therefore like to hear from anyone who has seen a recently abandoned vehicle in the vicinity of Wickhambrook."
Police are appealing for anyone who saw the Land Rover between the time it was stolen from Fern Hill in Glemsford, at 10pm on Wednesday, until the ram raid occurred.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any other information should contact Haverhill CID on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.