Outwell shop owner fears return of armed gang who threatened cashier and stole two tills ‘within 30 seconds’

Outwell Post Office

Outwell Post Office - Credit: Archant

Shop owner San Thirakumaran fears that an armed gang who entered Outwell Post Office and threatened his staff before stealing two tills “within 30 seconds” are going to come back.

Premier Stores on Norwich Road, Wisbech

Premier Stores on Norwich Road, Wisbech - Credit: Archant

Four hooded men armed with crowbars broke into his shop on Friday night, stealing two tills and threatening a cashier before fleeing towards Wisbech in a getaway vehicle.

Mr Thirakumaran said: “A car pulled up and parked outside the shop.

“Four people got out of it with a crow bar and a hammer while another person stayed in the car.

“They took the post office till first, then the shop till and walked away within 30 seconds.

CCTV from Wisbech robbery

CCTV from Wisbech robbery - Credit: Archant

“They had told the cashier ‘stand back, don’t do anything’ but she pressed the panic button and they left quickly,” the 51-year-old said.

“She’s alright but still a bit shaken.

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“It was well planned,” he added, having been in the back of the shop at the time of the robbery.

“They knew what they were doing. They were so quick that we didn’t realise they had taken both of them. They got what they wanted and walked away.”

CCTV from Wisbech robbery

CCTV from Wisbech robbery - Credit: Archant

Having been the owner of Outwell Post Office for three years, Mr Thirakumaran says this was the first incident of its kind.

However he believes there should have been “more police on the road when it happened” to follow the offenders.

“It’s bad that it was so easy for them to do the same thing 30 minutes later in Wisbech.”

Mr Thirakumaran says he still feels safe but added “we have to be careful because they come and take what they want.

CCTV from Wisbech robbery

CCTV from Wisbech robbery - Credit: Archant

“Thankfully, in the village we are very close to the houses. So as soon as we make any noise people come outside. It’s not like it’s a lone shop.

“And people are always in the shop. I think they waited until nobody was there; they targeted a specific time.

“They always want money, but we didn’t lose much; £20 in the Post Office till and another £90 in the shop till, so £110 in total.”

The armed robbery did however mean the shop had to close early, leading to a loss of takings. Mr Thirakumaran is also awaiting a new till for the Post Office.

“They damaged the business more, but I know they are going to come back. We always wait, but they come so suddenly.”

A police spokesman said: “Just after 10pm four men entered the Post Office on Church Terrace with crowbars and threatened the shop worker.

“A fifth person waited outside the shop in what is believed to be a green Vauxhall Omega.

“The suspects then stole two tills before fleeing the scene in the getaway vehicle.

“It is then thought they headed in the direction of Wisbech via Marsh Road.

“The four men who entered the shop are all described as wearing hoodies with their faces covered.”

The incident happened 30 minutes before four men wielding a crowbar and a wrench entered Premier Stores in Norwich Road, Wisbech and fled with £1,000.

Kishor Swamy, who took over as Premier Stores manager last June said: “It was so frightening for us.

“Everybody is frightened now; but we’re not leaving.

“For the last 10 years there have been no problems but now it has changed.

“I thought ‘this place is very peaceful, calm and quiet’. “Two years later and the situation has changed.

“There is no control on youngsters – that is the main reason things like this are happening.

“They just do what they want to do, because there’s no-one to control it.”

Detective Sergeant Mark Plitsch said: “This was a particularly frightening incident for staff in the shop and we are keen to find those responsible as soon as possible.”

Less than three days later, in a separate robbery yesterday (Monday 9), thieves used force to enter the McColl’s store on Hillgate, Gedney Hill, before stealing money and goods.

Both robberies come less than three weeks after a masked man armed with a shotgun stormed into Elm Village Store and stole £300 in cash. Elm is three miles away from Outwell.

Anyone with information should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org