Postmaster recalls robbery ordeal

A POSTMASTER has told how he came face-to-face with armed raiders brandishing a sawn-off shotgun and an axe.Iain Smith, 57, spoke publicly for the first time yesterday about the moment a week ago when the robbers burst into Botesdale Post Office, near Diss.

A POSTMASTER has told how he came face-to-face with armed raiders brandishing a sawn-off shotgun and an axe.

Iain Smith, 57, spoke publicly for the first time yesterday about the moment a week ago when the robbers burst into Botesdale Post Office, near Diss.

“I saw the man's eyes above the barrels and his fair hair,” said Mr Smith, who fought with one of the attackers and received a blow on the head with a pickaxe handle in the incident.

He said he could hardly believe his eyes when the intruders came through the doorway and “all hell let loose”.


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A man carrying an axe swept past him into the secure area of the post office while the others, one carrying a pickaxe handle and the other a sawn-off shotgun, stood nearby.

After locating the safe, the robber with the axe demanded the keys and Mr Smith, who had followed him into the secure area, threw them on to the floor.

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As the robber bent down to open the safe, the postmaster decided to put up a fight and the second man wielded the pick-axe handle.

During the struggle Mr Smith was hit on the head and also received a gash on his right arm.

The three robbers escaped with an undisclosed amount of money, leaving their getaway car in the village hall car park at Rickinghall, the adjoining village to Botesdale.

“My wife and I had talked about what we would do in the event of something like this and we agreed that we would not show any form of resistance.

“I don't know why I did what I did - it just happened. I wasn't frightened but I was aware my heart was pumping.

“Afterwards I felt slightly drained and I could feel the blood coming down my face,” Mr Smith said yesterday.

He was glad that his wife, Patricia, 56, had not been in the post office at the time. She had been swimming in a nearby pool.

The post office reopened following the raid for the first time yesterday and Mr and Mrs Smith, who took over the post office five years ago after moving from Luton, said the response from customers to the robbery had been brilliant. Lots of cards and other messages of support and even some presents had been received.

“We are not going to let this incident deter us from carrying on with the post office,” Mr Smith said.

Police say one of the robbers is thought to have suffered a head injury during the altercation with the postmaster.

All three members of the gang are described as of slender build and all wore something to partially cover their faces.

One of the offenders is described as eastern European in appearance, 5 ft 9 inches to 5ft 10 inches tall, about 25 years of age, wearing a canvass style coat, dark trousers and woollen gloves.

The second man is described as fair-skinned, about 5ft 6 inches tall, 17 or 18 years old, of slight build and wearing a light-coloured coat and woollen gloves.

The third robber is described as 5ft 9 inches to 5ft 10 inches tall, about 25 years of age and wearing a dark coloured jacket.

Police are appealing for information from any member of the public who may have seen the gang or who may have witnessed the theft of a blue Vauxhall Cavalier from Stanton in the hour leading up to the robbery, which happened just after 5 pm on November 26.

Anyone with information is asked to call Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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