Sub-postmaster describes third attack

PUBLISHED: 16:13 08 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:18 02 June 2010

Elm Post Office

Elm Post Office

Web Exclusive A SUB-postmaster attacked for the third time described the latest - when he was threatened by two crowbar wielding robbers- as an occupational hazard. Steve Clare spoke after the two men fled his Fenland post office empty-handed just befor

Web Exclusive

A SUB-postmaster attacked for the third time described the latest - when he was threatened by two crowbar wielding robbers- as "an occupational hazard."

Steve Clare spoke after the two men fled his Fenland post office empty-handed just before closing time on Friday.

The robbers fled in a green Volvo, which was later found burned out. It had been stolen from Lincolnshire the previous night.

Mr Clare, 55, described the robbers as both being about 5ft 10in tall and of stocky build.

Mr Clare and his wife Marilyn were uninjured but left shocked by their ordeal. It was the third time their High Road shop in Elm, nr Wisbech, was attacked by robbers in the 19 years they have run it, and the second time they got away with nothing.

"I don't like being intimidated and I just fought them off the best I could," he said. "I have got a pool cue behind the counter, but I did not have time to grab it when they came in.

"And I will carry on regardless - you've got to look at it as an occupational hazard.

"Two men came in at 5.05pm with balaclavas and crowbars demanding money as they usually do.

"My first instinct was to tell them to clear off and, when I did, the first one in the shop hit the glass screen and smashed it.

"He hit it again and knocked the glass out of its frame so it hit me and landed behind the counter. The glass had been in the frame for 15 years and because of that it was not toughened.

"The second time he hit it the crowbar came through and I grabbed it in the hope I could wrench it out of his hands, but he had gloves on and I didn't and I had the sharp end.

"After a bit of tugging and pulling, he pulled the crowbar back again and then tried to climb over the counter through the hole he made in the screen. He had his feet on the counter to pull his way through, but I was on the other side ready to push him back.

"At that point, my wife Marilyn came through. She had been in the back and heard the noise and was screaming at them to get out.

"The second man was distracted by her and turned on her and swung his crowbar. I'm not sure whether he hit her, but he was definitely trying to scare her.

"When he swung he hit the counter and the till, which was smashed and ended up behind the counter next to Marilyn.

"After the first man hit the screen though, I sounded the panic alarm I have under the counter and that goes to a call centre and, from there, goes to the police.

"Once they heard the alarm they knew they were on borrowed time because it's so loud it is difficult to think straight when it's going off, and the police are just a few minutes behind.

"After that, the second man was starting to get agitated saying 'we have got to go' and he went out the shop, at which point he was followed by the first man. It only lasted for about three minutes.

"I think they were sat outside for a while waiting for the right time to come in. There were no customers in here and they must have known that.

"They caused a lot of damage - the screen, the till, the post office computer was smashed and had to be replaced and the keyboard had to be replaced because it was covered in glass. I also had some minor cuts on my hands and on my head from the glass.

"We have spent the whole weekend clearing up the glass. Personally, I wanted to open the post office again on Saturday but if there is no screen and something happened again I could have had the Post Office onto me claiming back any money lost.

"The till I replaced from a cash and carry on Saturday morning and the computer was replaced Saturday afternoon and the screen was replaced Monday morning. We were up and running again by 10am on Monday."

Det Con Simon Rust, from Wisbech CID, said: "I am appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time and may have information to contact police.

"I would also like to hear from anyone who saw the green Volvo get-away car, either before or after the accident. Any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could be important to this inquiry.

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