Shocked Newton Poppleford family tell of terrifying burglary

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:39 18 June 2010

A SHOCKED family who were tied up by burglars during a terrifying raid in Newton Poppleford have told of the moment they woke to see the knife-wielding gang in their house. Postmaster John Hutchinson, his wife, Dorcas, and their two children, Michael, 19

A SHOCKED family who were tied up by burglars during a terrifying raid in Newton Poppleford have told of the moment they woke to see the knife-wielding gang in their house.

Postmaster John Hutchinson, his wife, Dorcas, and their two children, Michael, 19, and 16-year-old Megan were sleeping when the three men crept into their house, which is connected to the Post Office and shop, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

John said: "I woke up and there was this guy with a balaclava on-he was carrying a knife. He said 'co-operate and no one will get hurt'. I just felt disbelief. He was saying 'keep calm' and was chatting to me."

Megan and Michael were brought into their parent's bedroom and the gang bound the family's wrists. The burglars also tied up Michael's ankles.

John added: "He's a big stocky 19-year-old rugby player and if he kicked off it would be a problem for them."

Megan, who has just finished her GCSEs, said: "I thought I was dreaming. It didn't feel real until I saw my family and then it kicked in. I was always taught to do what a burglar tells you so I just followed him.

"I was scared but it was almost a safe scared because I was with my family and I knew they were fine."

The family's 14-week-old Westie dog, Will, was downstairs and John, concerned for the puppy's safety, asked to see him.

"They brought him upstairs and they even asked us if we wanted a drink," said John.

Two of the burglars then forced John to go downstairs and show them where the safe was.

He said: "While they were talking to me I wasn't really thinking but then they put me outside the room and made me kneel down-then dark thoughts were coming through.

"I was thinking Christ what's going on up there? I didn't want my son thinking he should do something to stop them. My wife said the four of five minutes I was downstairs felt like forever."

The gang then made off with the contents of the safe, which police say was around £11,000 or £12,000.

Since the raid, it has been 'business as usual' in the shop and the Post Office, however John says the shock of the attack has not sunk in yet.

A sign on the shop window reads 'As seen on TV' which John put up after three of his regular customers suggested it.

He added: "You've just got to get on with it. It's kind of akin to bereavement.

"The future will depend on how things pan out. If Megan or Michael in the next month or so decide they can't live here anymore and it's too upsetting then we go."

The family would like to thank the police and the villagers for all of their support.

John added: "People have popped in to see us and given us cards and gifts. It's very touching.


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