Rural alert after armed raid

VILLAGE store owners across Suffolk were today put on alert after a knife-wielding robber stole cash in the latest in a series of terrifying raids on small shops.

VILLAGE store owners across Suffolk were today put on alert after a knife-wielding robber stole cash in the latest in a series of terrifying raids on small shops.

Two shop staff were left badly shaken but unhurt after the robbery at the McColl's post office and general stores in Trimley St Martin.

Police today appealed for witnesses to come forward and issued a description of the thief, who may have been hanging around the area waiting for the shop to empty before carrying out his raid.

The man, who was armed with a knife, went into the shop in High Road at about 8.40pm last night.

He demanded money from the man and woman working in the shop and they immediately handed over a quantity of cash and he left.

Police said the man was white, around 20 years old, between 5ft 10in and 6ft tall, and of slim to medium build.

Most Read

He was wearing blue tracksuit bottoms, and a white hooded top and black jacket over the top, and white trainers.

Detective Constable Louise Masterson said: “Although the members of staff were left shaken by the ordeal, they were not harmed in any way.

“They did exactly the right thing and complied with the offender's requests, preventing the situation from escalating.”

She appealed for anyone who was in the area at the time, or saw the man hanging around in the area before the incident or making his escape afterwards, or any suspicious activity around the shop, to contact Felixstowe CID on 01473 613500.

Detectives were today making investigations into the raid and looking to see whether there were any links with other robberies at stores in Suffolk and adjoining counties.

Last autumn police handed out leaflets and spoke to village shop and post office owners in a bid to cut the number of armed robberies as part of Operation Arctic to try to raise awareness of criminals who target the smaller stores.

It is the third time the Trimley post office and stores has been raided in the past few years.

Two years ago, when it was owned by Jenny Stennett, burglars broke in twice in a month and stole almost all the shop's cigarettes - forcing the owners to increase security.

In 1999, the premises were the target for a violent raid when two men walked into the shop wearing balaclavas and armed with sawn-off shotguns.

They grabbed a teenage girl sitting on a bench outside and held her hostage but fled empty handed when a member of staff sounded the alarm. Armed robbers Roy and Richard Loveridge were later given life sentences for the crime.

December 11, 2005: Robbers. Two masked raiders targeted a Post Office in Great Thurlow with sawn off shotguns.

December 5, 2005: Two men in balaclavas threatened staff with a shotgun and a screwdriver at Co-op store in Brantham and escaped with a quantity of cash both from the till and a safe.

October 2005: Suffolk police issued advice to post office owners in an effort to reduce the number hit by robberies and ram raids.

August 11, 2005: An robber armed with a handgun stole cash from the Ipswich Building Society in Aldeburgh.

March 1, 2005: More than 40 police officers took part in dawn raids across East Anglia as part of a major investigation into almost 90 attacks on stores and post offices.

January 25, 2005: Robbers armed with sawn off shotguns threatened a woman at a shop in Haverhill.

January 19, 2005: Two masked raiders armed with an axe handle and a firearm raid the Co-op store in Lavenham Co op. threatened staff and escaped with a small amount of cash.