Sixth armed raid on county's stores

By Danielle NuttallCrime CorrespondentDETECTIVES launched a hunt last night for two masked men who raided a post office, armed with an axe and what is believed to be a gun.

By Danielle Nuttall

Crime Correspondent

DETECTIVES launched a hunt last night for two masked men who raided a post office, armed with an axe and what is believed to be a gun.

The armed robbers threatened staff at the Exning Road Post Office in Newmarket last night before fleeing in a car with a quantity of cash.

It was the second armed raid on a store in west Suffolk in less than a week and the sixth in the county in the past three weeks.

The robbery happened at about 5.20pm when two men, both wearing balaclavas and one carrying what is believed to be a gun and the other an axe, burst into the post office and threatened staff,

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They were given a quantity of cash and fled in what is thought to be a beige-coloured G-registered Ford Granada car. No-one was injured during the robbery.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said the Ford Granada car was later seen in Golden Miller Close on Studlands Park shortly after 5pm when two men were seen to get into a blue saloon car.

The raid follows another incident on Christmas Eve in which robbers threatened two shop workers with a metal bar at the Londis Shop in Brandon.

The female workers were bundled into a back room by the men, who had burst into the Thetford Road store and demanded keys to the safe.

But as the women did not hand over the keys, the men - one of whom was carrying a metal bar - fled instead with a large quantity of cigarettes.

Jon Richardson, regional secretary of the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, said he had never seen such a large spate of robberies in the county.

“It is very worrying. I don't think we have had such a bad spate before. Obviously, everybody is up on security as much as we can and that's really all we can do,” he added.

“It does frighten people in the post office. It's particularly upsetting for the rural areas and rural sub-postmasters when you get a large number of attacks like this. Various measures are being taken and considered at the moment.”

The Newmarket robbery happened just a day after three masked men targeted Shotley Gate Post Office and Stores just before 5pm, threatening staff and escaping with cash.

No weapons were seen, although the men forced the staff to hand over cash before fleeing the Bristol Hill premises in a small dark-coloured car.

One man was later arrested, but Suffolk police were unable to say last night whether he was still being questioned, had been charged or had been released.

Robbers also struck at Christchurch Street Post Office in Ipswich on December 23, threatening staff with guns before fleeing empty-handed.

Five days earlier, two men - one of whom was carrying a shotgun - raided a post office in Hacheston, near Wickham Market, and escaped with cash.

Three weeks ago, two men raided a post office in Debenham. Each of the raids happened just before 5pm.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said officers were at the early stages of their investigation into the Newmarket robbery and appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident or who recognised the beige car to contact them.

Anyone with information should contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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