‘Isolated’ store hit by masked robbers

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MASKED men threatened staff at a village post office with a sledgehammer, crowbar and an axe before making off with cash.

Three men went into the post office in Hillgate, Gedney Hill wearing dark clothing and balaclavas at about 5.15pm on Monday and threatened staff. Police say the employees were not injured and it is not known how much they stole.

The post office, part of the village shop, has been targeted twice more in the past two years – and in May 2010 thieves used a digger to try to wrench a cash machine from the wall of the store. After that raid the store got rid of its ATM.

The robbers left in the direction of Parson Drove in a 51 plate dark red Landrover Discovery driven by a fourth man. The vehicle had blacked out back side windows.

The Discovery was stolen from south of Market Deeping between 9.15am and 2pm on Monday and approached the post office from the Holbeach direction.

Detective Sergeant Lance Morgan, from Spalding CID, said, “This is a very unusual crime for Lincolnshire and it has understandably left the local community shaken.

“The red Landrover was found abandoned at a farm on Luttongate at 7.50pm the same evening and we are appealing to any witnesses who may have seen the vehicle or the suspects prior to the offence or at any point afterwards.”

Police assured they will be doing all they can to help villagers who were frightened by the shocking raid.

PC Laura Griggs said: “It is understandable that the incident has caused alarm and shock within this small community so the Neighbourhood Policing Team have increased high visibility patrols to provide reassurance that Lincolnshire is a very safe place to live and this type of offence is uncommon.”

South Holland District Council chairman Mick Seymour, who represents the ward, said Gedney Hill is vulnerable because of its geographical position and feels it suffers from poor police numbers.

He said Gedney Hill has seen several “travelling crimes” recently – including fly tipping of tyres and hare coarsing – with the culprits coming to the area from afar.

Coun Seymour said: “It is so close to other rougher areas but out on a limb for South Holland and Lincolnshire. There’s two or three ways they can just disappear.

“It does definitely need better policing. All they get is one PCSO.”

A police spokesman responded: “We are a large rural county however we deploy the resources we have to the most effective means to ensure all areas are covered as often as possible.”

Anyone with information should contact DS Morgan at Spalding Police Station by dialling 101.