Detectives keeping open mind

DETECTIVES hunting an armed robber who attempted to hold up a Felixstowe post office were today keeping an "open mind" on whether the raider was local.

DETECTIVES hunting an armed robber who attempted to hold up a Felixstowe post office were today keeping an "open mind" on whether the raider was local.

Officers say it is possible the man had a car just around the corner for a quick getaway – and could have been on to the A14 and away in minutes.

But they say it is equally likely the offender was local and possibly someone may have seen him and recognised him or may have vital information about him.

It is the third time an armed robber has targeted businesses in the same street and traders say they are frightened that it could be their shop next.

The gun-wielding balaclava-clad raider tried to rob the post office in Beach Station Road, just off the seafront.

He was thwarted by the two women working in the post office and store, who saw him putting on his mask as he approached, and hid under the counter and called the police.

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As the two women – aged 51 and 61 – hid below the counter, the man shouted violently at them to hand over money.

They refused and he struck the reinforced glass barrier with what is believed to have been the butt of the double-barrelled shotgun he was carrying.

The security glass shattered, but did not break.

After a few moments, the raider ran from the shop and the women saw him run off in the direction of Pretyman Road and turn right into Tacon Road.

Det Sgt Jeremy Curtis, of Felixstowe CID, said: "We are keeping an open mind on whether this man is local or not – he could be either, but we do not have any firm ideas on that at the moment.

"There is an easy route out of the town and on to A14 from that area, but it doesn't necessarily mean he used it or even had a car."

Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen the man in the area either before or after the attempted robbery, and anyone who saw him going into the post office or getting into a vehicle.

They feel sure that someone would have seen the man as Beach Station Road is a busy thoroughfare because of the parade of shops – but especially so at the moment because of traffic diversions in Langer Road.

"Because of the diversions a lot more traffic is using Beach Station Road at the moment. We need to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time – they may have seen something vital to our inquiries without realising it," he said.

Det Sgt Curtis said the two women shop workers had been "very brave" during the incident, which happened just before 2.45pm on Thursday.

The women, who have not been named, are too upset to talk about their ordeal. They were not hurt but were left extremely shaken.

In recent years two other shops in the street have been robbed – the newsagents and a sweet shop on the corner of Pretyman Road, which later closed.

Nigel Gibson, owner of Reflections Studio photographic shop, said: "Police came to speak to us but we were not able to tell them a lot. They had their sniffer dogs out and were checking all around the area.

"It's a bit scary really. The newsagents up the road was robbed a while back and now the post office and we hope they don't come any further along the road.

"It's such an easy place to get in and out of Felixstowe from quickly. Within minutes you can be away on the by-pass at Ipswich."

Police say the raider was wearing a dark coloured jacket and dark track suit bottoms, with a white stripe down the side. His face was obscured by the balaclava.

Anyone with information should contact Felixstowe CID on 01473 383300 or Force HQ on 01473 613500 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

N The increasing dangers facing post office staff, see page 6