AN eyewitness to an attempted armed robbery at Colsterworth Post Office on Friday morning has spoken of the moment she saw two men in balaclavas run out of the shop.
The masked men, who were believed to be armed with a pistol, barged into the post office, in Bourne Road, and demanded money. But they left with nothing after a quick-thinking shop worker hit the alarm. Nobody was injured.
The eyewitness, who wishes to remain anonymous, called 999 after hearing the alarm and seeing the men flee at just after 10am.
She said: “It all happened very quickly, it was like watching something on Crimewatch, it was really strange. I saw the balaclavas and immediately thought it was being raided. One of them had something in his hand but I couldn’t work out what it was, I only saw them for a few seconds. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that.”
The men, who were seen parked outside before the attack, drove off towards North Witham, where they swapped vehicles, torching the one they left behind.
The witness said: “We saw smoke coming up and assumed they had set fire to the getaway car.”
Police have recovered the firearm, which, at the time of going to press, was thought to have been a starting pistol. It will be forensically examined.
A police spokesman said: “This was a very shocking incident for staff involved and police are keen to speak to anyone with any information.”
They would like to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time or on the roads between Colsterworth and North Witham. Police believe the robbers may have visited the area before and would like to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the days or weeks prior to the incident.
Volunteer emergency doctor Leon Roberts, of the East Midlands Immediate Care Scheme, lives in Colsterworth and noticed the car fire. He rushed to the scene to close the road off until emergency services arrived. Dr Roberts was then asked to go to the post office to check on the condition of the staff. He said: “I spoke to one customer and one member of staff. They were very anxious and upset but I was able to reassure them.”
Derrick Hamilton-Hinds, who lives in the village, also saw smoke from the car and was shocked to find out what had happened.
He said: “The post office is the centre of the village in some ways. I would hate to think that the owners Shirley and George have been upset. I think they’re going to be upset for quite some time thinking who is going to come through the door. People in the village are upset, think what could have happened if it had been a real gun or they had panicked.”
The robbers are described as being in their early 20s, wearing dark clothing with dark collar length hair. One was about 6ft and quite slim, while the other was slightly shorter and of heavier build.
* Anyone with any information should contact Detective Inspector Mark Kirwan in Grantham CID on 101, quoting incident 121 of August 31. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.