Burglars tie up Newton Poppleford postmaster's family- UPDATE
AN aggressive and frightening raid on Newton Poppleford Post Office in which a family were threatened and tied up has sparked a major man hunt.
AN 'aggressive and frightening' raid on Newton Poppleford Post Office in which a family were threatened and tied up has sparked a major man hunt.
Postmaster John Hutchinson, his wife, Dorkis, and their two teenage children were sleeping when the burglars struck at around 2am today (Tuesday).
Mrs Hutchinson, her 16-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son were tied up by their wrists with cable ties and tape, while the burglars forced Mr Hutchinson to empty the safe of around �12,000.
Police say the traumatic attack lasted only a matter of minutes and although the family were unharmed, they are suffering from shock.
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Despite an extensive search by officers the three burglars have not yet been found.
Detective Inspector Andy Munday described the attack as "horrific" and is appealing for anyone who may have seen people acting suspiciously in the days leading up to or on the evening of the burglary to come forward.
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He said: "The family are obviously distressed at the moment-it was a horrific ordeal.
"This is exceptionally rare for the whole of our force area and an incident like this is exceptionally unusual."
DI Munday said officers are following several lines of enquiry and are liaising with police all over the country.
He added: "We are not linking it to an organised gang although it would appear there has been planning prior to this."
Police are carrying out door-to-door enquiries, Scene of Crime Officers are combing the area for any forensic evidence and CCTV is being looked at in detail.
Several neighbours have told of their disbelief following the terrifying attack.
Sharon Stone, 40, a close neighbour of the Hutchinson family, said: "It is horrendous-I am totally shocked.
"My bedroom faces their garden and we always have the window wide open. I'm just gutted that I didn't hear anything. They are so friendly-I'm glad they weren't hurt."
June Smith, 61, of High Street, visited Mrs Hutchinson earlier today and said:
"She was very shocked and I don't think it had hit her yet.
"It is such a lovely, quiet village. It's the last thing you would expect to happen here."
The first suspect is described as around 5ft tall, slim build with a foreign accent, which is possible Eastern European. He was wearing dark blue overalls and a balaclava.
The second man is around 5ft 2 inches tall, of slim build and was wearing similar clothes. He also had an accent but it was not strong.
There is not an in-depth description of the third man but it is believed he is around 5ft 11 inches tall.
The first man is thought to be in his late 30s and the others are described as slightly younger.
All men were wearing black gloves and trainers-one pair of the trainers has silver strips on the heels.
Anybody with information should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or police on 08452 777444 quoting log 70 07/07/09.