Winter months most likely time for raids

RAIDERS are more likely to target Suffolk post offices in December and January after periods of surveillance, according to new police research. The findings form the backbone of a fresh response to prevent post office robberies in the county following two raids that shocked two village communities, although they took place earlier in the year than usual.

By James Fraser

RAIDERS are more likely to target Suffolk post offices in December and January after periods of surveillance, according to new police research.

The findings form the backbone of a fresh response to prevent post office robberies in the county following two raids that shocked two village communities, although they took place earlier in the year than usual.

Officers are currently in the process of calling on every post office in the county and advising staff on what proactive measures they can take to prevent a robbery, as well as on what to do, should they become a victim.

Research and analysis of past incidents has been carried out over the last few months and the information generated by this analysis has formed the foundation of a set of initiatives designed to combat this problem.

"We know that this type of crime tends to be seasonal, with offences usually occurring in December and January," said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Marshall, the officer leading this operation.

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"The two recent attacks on Post Offices in Pakenham and Stonham Parva have occurred much earlier in the year than is usual, but in other respects the robberies have followed a discernible pattern."

Both regular police officers and members of the Special Constabulary will be visiting all post offices in the county on a regular basis.

High visibility patrols in the areas of post offices will be increased and these will be supported by the use of the Force Helicopter as well as by other groups from within Suffolk Constabulary's Operations Unit.

Additional covert surveillance will also take place at those post offices identified as being in a relatively "high risk" category.

"Whilst I do not wish to go into the precise details of the profile of a typical robbery, I can say that is not unusual for offenders to spend time watching a post office that they intend to target." DCI Marshall continued.

"It is in this area that members of the public can provide us with really valuable assistance by noting the details of anyone who appears to be paying close attention to their local post office and the colour, make and registration number of any car that they are using, then phoning us with this information immediately."

Anyone who has information which they think may be relevant, can contact police by telephoning 01473 613500, contacting Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111 or in an emergency by dialling 999.

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